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RAUENZAHN v. SIGMAN (01/04/54)

January 4, 1954

RAUENZAHN
v.
SIGMAN, APPELLANT



Appeal, No. 218, Jan. T., 1953, from decree of Court of Common Pleas No. 7, of Philadelphia County, June T., 1949, in Equity, No. 3811, in case of Raymond K. Rauenzahn, Exr., Estate of Emma F. Waggaman also known as Emma S. Waggaman, deceased and George T. Guarnieri, Admr., Estate of James L. Waggaman, deceased v. Ethel M. Sigman. Decree reversed.

COUNSEL

J. Kennard Weaver, with him Weaver, Knauer & Miller, for appellant.

Robert Boyd, Jr., for appellees.

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

Author: Stearne

[ 376 Pa. Page 27]

OPINION BY MR. JUSTICE ALLEN M. STEARNE

An elderly couple succeeded in weaving a tangled web when they first attempted to deceive a fraternal home which admitted them under a contract that in consideration of a transfer to the home of all their assets it agreed to maintain and care for the couple during their respective lives. Two nieces are claiming the cash and securities of the deceased wife who survived her husband. One niece claims under an alleged inter vivos, gift, while the other one is the sole beneficiary under a will.

James L. Waggaman and his wife, Emma F. Waggaman, each about seventy-nine years of age, desired to enter the Odd Fellows Home in Middletown. They deeded their dwelling to the home, but is violation of their agreement certified in their application for admission that this constituted their entire assets. Such statement was untrue. They had withheld money and securities which they placed in the hands of Ralph Sigman, husband of defendant, Ethel M. Sigman. The home, learning of the deception, insisted that the Waggamans leave the institution. A compromise was effected whereby the home was reimbursed for the cost of care and maintenance while the couple was in the home, and an agreed sum of money was refunded to them. These are the assets about which the litigation revolves.

Upon leaving the home the Waggamans lived together in Philadelphia. James L. Waggaman subsequently

[ 376 Pa. Page 28]

    died and his estate is represented by an administrator de bonis non. Emma F. Waggaman went to live with Mr. and Mrs. Raymond K. Rauenzahn and subsequently died. Her estate is represented by the niece's husband, Raymond K. Rauenzahn as executor. Under the will of Emma F. w/aggaman, the niece is sole beneficiary.

Prior to her decease Mrs. Waggaman, individually and as administratrix of her deceased husband's estate, instituted a suit against her niece, Ethel M. Sigman, the defendant (Mrs. Sigman's husband having died), seeking the return of the money and securities and for an accounting. Pending this litigation Mrs. Waggaman died. Her executor and an administrator de bonis non of her husband's estate were substituted as plaintiffs.

Mrs. Sigman, the defendant, contested the suit on the ground that Mrs. Waggaman had, by inter vivos gift, transferred to her the money and securities which defendant then held in her possession. The plaintiffs, on the contrary, maintain that Mrs. Sigman holds the property under a ...


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