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CHOJNACKI ESTATE. (12/30/59)

December 30, 1959

CHOJNACKI ESTATE.


Appeal, No. 48, March T., 1959, from order of Orphans' Court of Erie County, May T., 1958, No. 140, in the matter of the estate of John S. Chojnacki, an incompetent. Order affirmed. Petition for allowance for maintenance at State institution. Order entered dismissing petition, opinion by ROBERTS, P.J. Commonwealth appealed.

COUNSEL

John D. Killian, III, Deputy Attorney General, with him Peter G. Schaaf, Counsel, Harry J. Rubin, Deputy Attorney General, and Anne X. Alpern, Attorney General, for Commonwealth, appellant.

Daniel J. Parent, with him Joseph H. Kifer, and Arthur E. Ashton, for Veterans Administration, appellee.

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

[ 397 Pa. Page 597]

OPINION PER CURIAM

John S. Chojnacki, a mentally incompetent veteran, is now and has been confined at Farview State Hospital, Waymart, Pa., since prior to May 5, 1951. On that date Joseph F. Mackrell, Esq., was appointed by the Orphans' Court of Erie County as the guardian of Chojnacki's estate, and from that date until December 31, 1957 the said guardian paid the full cost of Chojnacki's care and maintenance at the State Hospital to the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania.

After January 1, 1958 the guardian refused upon demand to pay the full cost of Chojnacki's care and maintenance, apparently upon the ground that the Veterans Administration opposed payments for such purpose in excess of $40 per month. On May 15, 1958 the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania petitioned the Orphans' Court of Erie County for an order directing the aforesaid guardian to pay the full cost of Chojnacki's

[ 397 Pa. Page 598]

    care and maintenance. At that time the guardian had in his possession $3,661.62, accumulated by reason of payments by the Veterans Administration of a non-service-connected disability pension of $78.75 each month. The full cost of maintenance of Chojnacki at the State Hospital is $138 per month.

Upon presentation of the Commonwealth's petition the court below granted a rule to show cause why such order should not be made with a direction that notice of the presentation of such petition be given to the Veterans Administration. The Veterans Administration filed an answer stating, in effect, that the balance of monies in the incompetent's estate over and above payments of $40 per month for his care and maintenance was retained in the estate to be used for his "future welfare; to provide for his incidental needs as a patient in the Commonwealth hospital; to accumulate a fund to be used for the rehabilitation of the veteran in the event he is discharged from the hospital, and for payment of costs of administration of his estate."

The court below dismissed the Commonwealth's petition and from such order this appeal was taken.

The order is affirmed upon the following excerpts from the opinion of President Judge ROBERTS of the court below:

"The Commonwealth in this proceeding seeks reimbursement for the full cost of current maintenance of an incompetent veteran as a patient in a state institution. The veteran is the beneficiary of a non-service-connected disability pension from the United States Government, in the monthly amount of $78.75. The full cost of maintenance varies and is now approximately $4.45 a day. Payment at that rate is demanded from the funds in the hands of the ...


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