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KLEINER ESTATE. (01/02/62)

January 2, 1962

KLEINER ESTATE.


Appeal, No. 347, Jan. T., 1961, from decree of Orphans' Court of Philadelphia Cunty, No. 3440 of 1959, in re estate of Blanche F. Kleiner, deceased. Decree affirmed.

COUNSEL

Morris H. Goldman, with him David J. Kaufman, and Wolf, Block, Schorr and Solis-Cohen, for appellant.

Nochem S. Winnet, with him Donald Brown, and Fox, Rothschild, O'Brien & Frankel, for appellee.

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

Author: Musmanno

[ 405 Pa. Page 541]

OPINION BY MR. JUSTICE MUSMANNO.

In January, 1958, Dr. Blanche F. Kleiner, purchased a $10,000 United States Savings Bond payable on its face to herself, and payable on death to Louis Wolfson. Dr. Kleiner died on September 17, 1958, leaving a will which made no reference to this bond which was found in her safety deposit box. Brian David Wolfson, her step-grandson, a minor 14 years of age, claimed at the audit of the account of the estate of the decedent, that he was entitled to this $10,000 bond. The Orphans' Court of Philadelphia County decided against his claim. Through the guardian of his estate, the Broad Street Trust Company, Brian appealed. Who is entitled to the bond or its proceeds? That is the question in this case.

Although the purchaser of the bond is named throughout these proceedings as Dr. Blanche F. Kleiner, we will, for the purposes of clarity, call her

[ 405 Pa. Page 542]

    by her official name, Mrs. Blanche Kleiner Wolfson, she having been the wife of Dr. Louis Wolfson, who was the grandfather of the claimant.

Brian Wolfson is not an heir at law of Mrs. Wolfson and, therefore, can only qualify to participate in the estate of Mrs. Wolfson through the latter's will or by specific intention manifested during her lifetime. He contends that there was such an intention, namely, that although the bond designates Louis Wolfson as the beneficiary, Mrs. Wolfson really purposed to name Brian Wolfson as that beneficiary.

In support of this contention the appellant points out that Louis Wolfson had predeceased his wife by nine years so that she could not have had any desire to select him as the beneficiary. The heirs of the decedent Mrs. Wolfson, the appellees herein, assert, to the contrary, that Mrs. Wolfson had in mind routing the proceeds of the bond to her residuary estate since Mrs. Wolfson planned to provide for the education of the other children in her family. She said in her will: "The balance of my estate shall be... for the purpose of setting up an educational fund to be used in assisting children in my family (used in its broadest sense), and their children, in obtaining a higher education.... The principal of this Trust shall be invested only in bonds of the United States Government."

The appellees reinforce this position by emphasizing the very significant fact that Mrs. Wolfson made specific provision in her will for her step-grandson, namely: "I have set aside the sum of Twenty Thousand Dollars, in government bonds, for Brian Wolfson. The proceeds ...


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