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SNYDER ESTATE (11/13/51)

November 13, 1951

SNYDER ESTATE


Appeal, No. 126, March T., 1951, from decree of Orphans' Court of Allegheny County, 1948, No. 2396, in Estate of Carl E. Snyder, deceased. Decree affirmed.

COUNSEL

Bresci R. P. Leonard, with him Rahauser, Van der Voort, Royston, Robb & Leonard, for appellant.

William L. Jacob, with him William L. Jacob, Jr., for appellee.

Before Drew, C.j., Stearne, Jones, Bell, Ladner and Chidsey, JJ.

Author: Bell

[ 368 Pa. Page 394]

OPINION BY MR. JUSTICE BELL

This case hinges on the narrow question: Were judgment notes under seal given to a father by a son 13 to 18 years before his death ever paid?

Carl E. Snyder died on April 15, 1948, leaving a will in which he gave all his estate to his wife, whom he had married 14 months prior to his death. The decedent's estate totaled $17,000. decedent's father at the audit of the account presented a claim on 8 judgment notes which were under seal, the first dated January 13, 1930 and the last July 1, 1935.These notes totaled $3700. plus interest, making a total claim of $6547.19. Six of the notes were made payable by the decedent to his father and two to his mother, who in turn assigned them to the father on April 8, 1949. The claim was first made 11 months and 21 days after the son's death.

[ 368 Pa. Page 395]

The claimant was permitted to testify fully in support of his claim. He proved the execution of the notes which had always been in his or his wife's possession; he testified that he or his wife loaned the money to their son and that the notes were given for these loans; that in some instances he had to borrow money from his neighbors to loan the money to his son; that his son needed the money badly in his business; that he (the claimant) was a mortician and honorary president of a bank; that he endorsed notes of his son which were given to the bank for loans made directly by the bank to the son; that the notes in suit were not collateral to nor had any connection with the notes which the son gave to the bank and which had been paid in full ; that he had never asked his son for payment because until the last few years of the latter's life he was financially unable to repay the loans; that his son promised to pay the money back after he got established; and that when he and his son were in Florida, approximately a year before the son's death, the son agreed to repay the loans when the father needed the money. The father clearly and repeatedly testified that the loans or notes were never paid.

The widow points out that these notes were very stale and the claim very suspicious; that for many years prior to his death her husband was prosperous and could have paid off the indebtedness if it existed; that the claimant made no request for payment during his son's lifetime, which he would have done if the money was still owing; that claimant has no checks or stubs or documentary evidence that he or his wife ever paid their son any money or cash in return for these judgment notes; that the claimant did not mention or include these judgment notes in any of his personal property tax returns until 1950; that claimant's testimony showed that these notes were collateral to notes

[ 368 Pa. Page 396]

    given by decedent to the bank and paid in full; that decedent's mother was opposed to her husband's claim; that neither decedent's books nor records disclosed the notes or debt; that neither she nor her husband's friends nor his auditor or creditors ever heard of the indebtedness; that claimant's testimony (he was 75 years of age) was at times confused and contradictory, especially on the very important point as to whether the notes in suit were collateral to bank notes which the decedent had paid in full; and that at ...


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