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ROGAN ESTATE. (06/02/61)

June 2, 1961

ROGAN ESTATE.


Appeal, No. 203, March T., 1960, from decree of Orphans' Court of Allegheny County, No. 791 of 1958, in re estate of Michael D. Rogan, deceased. Decree reversed.

COUNSEL

Abraham Pervin, with him Sachs, Pervin, Kaufman & Menzer, for appellant.

Samuel Avins, for appellees.

Walter T. McGough and J. Tomlinson Fort, with them Reed, Smith, Shaw & McClay, for appellee.

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

Author: Eagen

[ 404 Pa. Page 207]

OPINION BY MR. JUSTICE EAGEN.

This is an appeal from a decree of the Orphans' Court of Allegheny County refusing to take off a compulsory non-suit entered at the jury trial of a citation

[ 404 Pa. Page 208]

    to determine the ownership of the funds in a checking account.

The issue arose in the following manner. Michael D. Rogan died February 14, 1958. On the date of his death, there was on deposit in the Allegheny Trust Company of Pittsburgh the sum of $18,325.09 in a joint checking account in the names of the decedent and his daughter-in-law, Sheila P. Rogan. Within a matter of days following his death, Sheila P. Rogan withdrew the entire sum from the bank. The executor of the decedent's estate presented a petition to the orphans' court seeking a citation*fn1 against the Allegheny Trust Company, Sheila P. Rogan and her husband, to show cause why the money should not be turned over to the estate. Sheila Rogan claimed ownership of the money by reason of a gift inter vivos. After issue framed, a jury trial ensued. Upon the completion of the testimony offered by the executor of the estate, the trial judge ruled that the evidence established a prima facie gift of the funds in favor of Sheila P. Rogan, which had not been rebutted. A compulsory non-suit was entered and the petition for the citation dismissed, which order the court en banc subsequently sustained.

The narrow but difficult question is, did the evidence establish a prima facie gift inter vivos to the decedent's daughter-in-law, Sheila P. Rogan?

The testimony offered by the estate is substantially as follows: On January 31, 1958, two weeks prior to the decedent's death, the money involved was in a checking account in his own name in the same trust company. On that date, the trust company transferred the money to another account, the one in dispute, a joint checking ...


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