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LITTLE ESTATE. (05/02/61)

May 2, 1961

LITTLE ESTATE.


Appeal, No. 38, March T., 1961, from decree of Orphans' Court of Allegheny County, No. 4887 of 1956, in re estate of Louis Little, deceased. Decree affirmed.

COUNSEL

Jerome B. Lieber, with him Marvin S. Lieber, and Ruslander, Ruslander & Lieber, for appellant.

Abraham Pervin, with him Herbert B. Sachs, Richard Hart Schwartz, and Sachs, Pervin, Kaufman & Menzer, for appellees.

Lois G. Forer, Deputy Attorney General, with her Anne X. Alpern, Attorney General, for Commonwealth.

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

Author: Bell

[ 403 Pa. Page 535]

OPINION BY MR. JUSTICE BELL.

Testator made the following bequest:

"To my cousin, Don Little, I give and devise Ten Thousand dollars to be paid to him, if and when he survive his wife. If he does not survive her, then this

[ 403 Pa. Page 536]

    money is to be retained by my Executors and disposed of as hereinafter designated." "Disposed of as hereinafter designated" meant that it became a part of the residuary trust estate which this Court held in Little Estate, 403 Pa. 247, 168 A.2d 738 [n.2], constituted a gift to charity, i.e., for the charitable uses and purposes specified in the decree of the lower Court. The Orphans' Court entered a decree awarding the $10,000. bequest to the Executors of the Estate, as particularly set forth therein. From this decree Don Little took this appeal.

Appellant's first and principal contention is "This bequest as stated by the testator has the effect of inviting the legatee to commit murder or to destroy his marriage by obtaining a divorce." This is so farfetched as to be utterly devoid of merit. The bequest was clearly a contingent gift to Don Little, contingent, not upon murder or even divorce, but upon his surviving his wife, with a gift over in the event of his failure to do so. It seems to be often forgotten that a man (who has testamentary capacity) can disinherit his children and his closest relatives, except his wife, and can give his own property to such individuals and to such charities and to such objects of his bounty as he desires, subject only to the limitation that the gift cannot be in violation of law or of the Constitution or of clearly established public policy. Girard Will Case, 386 Pa. 548, 127 A.2d 287; Cannistra Estate, 384 Pa. 605, 121 A.2d 157; Johnson Will, 370 Pa. 125, 87 A.2d 188; Borsch Estate, 362 Pa. 581, 67 A.2d 119.

In Girard Will Case the Court aptly said (page 578): "Respected men and women, as well as eccentric people, sometimes make sound and sometimes eccentric wills. Courts, heirs and excluded beneficiaries often wish (1) they could change or delete clear and plain and specific language, or (2) ...


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