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RICHLEY ESTATE. (11/25/58)

November 25, 1958

RICHLEY ESTATE.


Appeal, No. 30, May T., 1958, from decree of Orphans' Court of York County, in re estate of John William Richley, deceased. Decree affirmed.

COUNSEL

Nevin Stetler, with him Leo E. Gribbin, Jr., for appellants.

E. Eugene Shelley and Horace G. Ports, with them Robert C. Fluhrer, and Frederick B. Gerber, for appellee.

Henry B. Leader and Stock and Leader, for Paul C. Richley, appellee.

Robert H. Griffith, Edward H. H. Garber, and Markowitz & Kagen, for Benjamin Eby, Jr., appellee.

Before Jones, C.j., Bell, Musmanno, Jones and Cohen, JJ.

Author: Bell

[ 394 Pa. Page 189]

OPINION BY MR. JUSTICE BELL.

John William Richley died, unmarried, on November 24, 1955, leaving a "home-drawn" will which was duly probated. Two questions are presented by this appeal: (1) Did decedent in his lifetime give to John Snyder, his grandson, premises 635 E. Chestnut Street, York, Pennsylvania? The lower Court held that there was not a valid inter vivos gift of this property, and that it passed as part of the residuary estate.

On or about September 1, 1953, Horace G. Ports, a member of the York County Bar, prepared, at decedent's request, a deed for the premises in question to Snyder. The consideration recited was $1.00. Decedent executed the deed which was duly witnessed and acknowledged, but never recorded. The decedent continued to occupy this property as his residence until his death on November 24, 1955. During all this time he exercised all the incidents of ownership, paid all taxes thereon, all utility costs, all fire insurance and all maintenance and repairs.

Decedent's executor found in a large check book in a case of drawers in decedent's bedroom, where Mr. Ports testified decedent had placed the deed immediately after its execution, the unrecorded deed to Snyder

[ 394 Pa. Page 190]

    for the above mentioned premises. The deed was mutilated, the signature of the decedent was cut out therefrom and the word "void" was written with ink under the place where the signature had originally appeared. The signatures of both subscribing witnesses were partially obliterated and scratched out by the use of pen and ink. Under these facts the burden of proving an inter vivos gift by a valid delivery of the deed was upon the claimant and this burden can be satisfied only by clear and satisfactory evidence: Martella Estate, 390 Pa. 255, 135 A.2d ...


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