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CHRISTOFF ESTATE. (07/02/63)

July 2, 1963

IN RE CHRISTOFF ESTATE.


Appeal, No. 91, March T., 1963, from decree of Orphans' Court of Allegheny County, No. 3617 of 1960, in re estate of Peter Christoff, deceased. Decree affirmed; reargument refused July 20, 1963.

COUNSEL

Michael Alexander, with him Thomas A. Lazaroff, for appellant.

Stephen E. Nash, with him G. Harold Blaxter, Herman S. Harvey, Jr., and Blaxter, O'Neill, Houston & Nash, for appellee.

Before Bell, C.j., Musmanno, Jones, Cohen, Eagen, O'brien and Roberts, JJ.

Author: Jones

[ 411 Pa. Page 421]

OPINION BY MR. JUSTICE BENJAMIN R. JONES

This is an appeal from a decree of the Orphans' Court of Allegheny County which awarded the entire estate of a Pennsylvania decedent, Peter Christoff, to one Constantin Peter Kouzinakis (Peter), a resident of Greece, on the basis of a decree of adoption rendered by a court of Greece which decree purports to make Peter the adopted son of the decedent.

On August 12, 1960, Peter Christoff (decedent), an American citizen domiciled in Pittsburgh, died unmarried and without natural issue surviving. His last will and testament, dated June 18, 1948, named Constantin D. Cozinacis (Constantin), presently resident in Prague, Czechoslovakia, as the residuary legatee.

Constantin Peter Kouzinakis (Peter) is a grandnephew of decedent and, by the terms of a decree of the Court of First Instance of Edhessa, Greece, dated October 17, 1955, Peter was declared to be the adopted son of the decedent.

At the audit of the decedent's estate before the Orphans' Court of Allegheny County, Peter claimed the

[ 411 Pa. Page 422]

    entire balance for distribution in decedent's estate as an after-adopted child, in accordance with the provisions of Section 7(4) of the Wills Act of 1947, P.L. 89, 20 PS ยง 180.7. The court below recognized the foreign decree of adoption and decreed that Peter was the adopted son of the decedent and entitled to the award of the entire balance of the estate. From that decree Constantin appeals.

Fundamentally, the issue here is the recognition, if any, to be accorded by the courts of this Commonwealth to the decree of ...


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