Appeals, Nos. 247, 248, 249 and 250, Jan. T., 1960, from decree of Orphans' Court of Philadelphia County, No. 1430 of 1959, in estate of Annie Hahn, also known as Annie S. Hahn, and Mrs. Annie S. Hahn, deceased. Decree affirmed.
Joseph A. Hagerty, for appellants.
F. Raymond Heuges, for appellees.
Before Bell, Musmanno, Jones, Cohen, Bok and Eagen, JJ.
Decree affirmed. Costs on appellants.
ING OPINION BY MR. JUSTICE BELL:
Decedent left an estate of approximately $11,000 personalty and $9,600 realty, namely, a house at 623 E. Westmoreland Street, Philadelphia, which was found by the lower Court to have a value of $6,000, and a house at 3256 Hartville Street, Philadelphia. In her Will she left her residuary estate to her sister, Mrs. Heilmann, for life, and at her death to four named nieces and nephews. The lower Court awarded the house at 623 E. Westmoreland Street to the Lienerts.
Mr. and Mrs. Lienert claimed that they entered into an oral contract with the decedent when she was 88 years old, under the terms of which she would convey the Westmoreland Street house to them, reserving a life estate in herself, in consideration of the Lienerts providing a home and care for her, without charge, for the rest of her life. They also presented a claim for bed and board which was subsequently dismissed by the Court for want of proof. They cared for her for two months and five days, after which she was taken to a hospital and several months thereafter died. For two months' care they received one-third of her estate.
A claim against a dead man's estate must be proved by clear, precise and convincing evidence: Liggins Estate, 393 Pa. 500, 143 A.2d 349; Martella Estate, 390 Pa. 255, 135 A.2d 372; King Estate, 387 Pa. 119, 126 A.2d 463; Grossman Estate, 386 Pa. 647, 126 A.2d 468; Brightbill v. Boeshore, 385 Pa. 69, 122 A.2d 38; Stafford v. Reed, 363 Pa. 405, 70 A.2d 345; Snyderwine v. McGrath, 343 Pa. 245, 22 A.2d 644; Leadenham's Estate, 289 Pa. 216, 137 A. 247.
When a claim is based on an alleged oral agreement to leave part or all of a person's property to another for care or similar services, the claim should be very carefully scrutinized and should be allowed only where the evidence is not only clear and precise, but absolutely convincing. The reason is obvious. To hold otherwise would ...