Robert W. Morton, York, and Harry J. Alker, Jr., Philadelphia, for appellant.
McClean Stock and Laurence T. Himes, York, for appellee.
Before Rhodes, P. J., and Hirt, Reno, Dithrich, Ross, Gunther and Wright, JJ.
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These two appeals are from the adjudication or decree of the court below allowing in part the respective
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claims of appellants against the estate of a weak-minded person, as recommended in the report of a master.
On September 17, 1951, the Court of Common Pleas of York County entered a decree under the Act of May 28, 1907, P.L. 292, as amended, 50 P.S. § 941 et seq. (now repealed), declaring Joseph A. Feely a weak-minded person unable to take care of his property, and appointing the York Trust Company, of York, Pennsylvania, guardian of his estate. The guardian subsequently filed an inventory and appraisement of the ward's property. Thereafter, on November 15, 1951, the guardian petitioned the court, setting forth the receipt of numerous claims and bills, principally from lawyers, physicians, and relatives, for services allegedly rendered the ward, and asking for the appointment of a master to hear and pass upon the validity of the various claims amounting to $8,169.62. The court on November 15, 1951, appointed a master. Later additional claims were presented totaling $10,743.33, including the claims of the appellant Harry J. Alker, Jr., Esq., for $2,063.33, and the appellant Dr. William W. Wilson in the amount of $3,150. At the time of the later hearings before the master, claims in the amount of $18,912.95 exceeded the then principal balance in the estate of $16,944.42.
The master held hearings at which claimants presented testimony as to the circumstances under which their services were rendered. He filed an extensive report in which he discussed in detail the evidence relating to the claims, made findings of fact, and recommended payments in the sum of $7,838.97. The master recommended that $520.50 of the claim of the appellant Harry J. Alker, Jr., Esq., be allowed, and that $950 of the claim of the appellant Dr. Wilson be paid. Upon exceptions filed to the master's report the Court of Common Pleas of York County, after argument, entered
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a decree accepting the findings and conclusions of the master, and adjudicating the claims of the appellants Alker and Wilson in the amounts recommended by the master. It is from this decree that the present appeals to this Court have been taken.
It is not necessary to review the voluminous record in detail. But a summary of the salient facts as found in the master's report and as they appear in the evidence is requisite to a disposition of the questions raised by the appeals. On April 24, 1951, Joseph A. Feely, a widower, aged 72 years, lived alone at the Yorktowne Hotel, York, Pennsylvania. Feely, formerly an employe of the Atlantic Refining Company, received a pension of $437.42 per month from Atlantic, and a salary of $17,000 per year from Keystone Roofing Manufacturing Company of which he was an officer and principal stockholder. His closest relatives were a brother, John F. Feely, a sister, Irene M. Wright, and a nephew, Jerome F. Feely, all residing in the State of New York. A stepdaughter, Mildred ...