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KING WILL (03/24/52)

March 24, 1952

KING WILL


Appeal, No. 39, Jan. T., 1952, from decree of Orphans' Court of Montgomery County, No. 52560, in Estate of Abbie Abel King, decreased. Decree affirmed; reargument refused April 14, 1952.

COUNSEL

Edward J. Griffiths, with him Nelson P. Fegley and Henry and Griffiths, for appellants.

Alphonso Santangelo, with him Dorsey F. Boston, for appellees.

Before Drew, C.j., Stern, Stearne, Bell, Chidsey and Musmanno, JJ.

Author: Musmanno

[ 369 Pa. Page 525]

OPINION BY MR. JUSTICE MUSMANNO

On September 27, 1949, Abbie Abel King made her will devising and bequeathing the residue of her estate, after certain legacies unimportant for consideration here, to her niece Elsie S. Edenborn.

She died on November 1, 1949, the will was admitted to probate and letters testamentary were granted to the executrix named therein, the same Mrs. Edenborn. Five other nephews and nieces contested the will and eventually the Orphans' Court of Montgomery County heard evidence to determine whether the testatrix was of sound testamentary capacity at the time she executed the will and whether she had been subjected to undue influence by Mrs. Edenborn in the making thereof.

The Orphans' Court found that Mrs. King was not lacking in testamentary capacity and also concluded that she was not the victim of undue influence.

The contestants have appealed to this Court urging the same reasons and the facts advanced in the Court below to invalidate the will.

The record reveals that some time in 1974 Mrs. King, then being 72 years of age, fell and sustained injuries which grievously disabled her. Nerves of the spinal column were apparently damaged, preventing her from assuming an erect posture and compelling her to walk in a bent over position with the aid of a cane. Later she lost practically all locomotion and was confined to bed or chair. Multiple sclerosis added its burden of torment. She was not deprived of much of the use of her hands, and a throat affliction distorted her speech to the point often of unintelligibility. One of the witnesses, who saw her in September, 1949, testified:

[ 369 Pa. Page 526]

"She was in a chair, she didn't sit up straight in the chair, she was partly over, and she couldn't get out of the chair herself and her hands were terribly crippled and she was physically in a terrible condition, you would never know it was the same person."

Another testified: "Q. How was her movements of body? A. Well she was very feeble and her head would fall down this way. Q.Indicating her head on her chest, chin on her chest. A. Yes, and she would battle for quite a while before she could really straighten up. Q. Before she could straighten her head? A. That's right, I have seen her head laying on her chest for a good ten minutes. Q. And what was she ...


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