Appeal, No. 164, March T., 1956, from decree of Orphans' Court of Fayette County, March T., 1955, No. 52, in the matter of estate of Harry C. King, deceased. Decree affirmed in part and reversed in part.
David E. Cohen, with him Joseph W. Ray, Jr., I. Burdette Coldren, and Ray, Coldren & Buck, for appellant.
Wade K. Newell, for appellee.
Before Stern, CJ., Jones, Bell, Chidsey, Musmanno and Arnold, JJ.
OPINION BY MR. JUSTICE BELL
Harry C. King died August 11, 1954, at the age of 64 years. He left surviving him a widow, Ruby T. King, Whom he married on June 14, 1951, a married sister, Blanche King Craig, and another sister, Helen Elizabeth King. King, in his last Will which was dated August 10, 1951, gave $100. to his sister, Mrs. Craig; he gave his sister, Helen King, his undivided one-half interest in their residence situate at 22 Barton Mill Road, Fayette County, Pa.; and he gave the residue of his estate, one-half to his wife, Ruly King, and the other half to his sister, Helen King. King and his wife were very happily married; he was also very fond of his sister Helen with whom he had lived prior to his marriage.
King left an estate of $56,434., exclusive of the contents of a safe deposit box which contained stocks and securities having an approximate value of $50,000. The question involved is the ownership (a) of the stocks
and bonds contained in the safe deposit box, and (b) of the furniture in an apartment which was occupied by him and his wife.
On January 17, 1953, decedent purchased a Packard automobile which he had registered in their joint names. On January 27, 1953, he transferred and conveyed by duly recorded deed his mountain home containing 3 3/4 acres, to himself and his wife as tenants by the entireties.
King owned a safe deposit box located in the Second National Bank of Uniontown (now the Gallatin National Bank) which he had rented in his name since 1948. On February 17, 1953, King came to the bank and requested the custodian of the safe deposit vault, Amana Hess, to change his safe deposit contract from his name to that of himself and his wife. The custodian explained to King that he could retain his present contract for his safe deposit box and give a right of access to his wife, or he could have the contract changed to a joint contract for himself and his wife. With full knowledge of the difference between mere access and joint ownership, King said he did not want his wife merely to have access; he wanted a joint contract. The custodian produced the contract and explained it again to him in detail. He signed it in her presence; she witnessed it, and he then took it home to obtain his wife's signature. Two days later, February 19th, he brought back the contract with his wife's signature on it and delivered it to the Bank, where it remained until the time of trial. The relevant part of the contract, which was dated February 19, 1953, reads as follows:
"10. ... J.C. In case the Lessees are joint tenants, including husband and wife, it is hereby declared that all property of ...