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ALEXANDER ESTATE. (05/27/64)

May 27, 1964

IN RE ALEXANDER ESTATE.


Appeal, No. 170, Jan. T., 1964, from decree of Orphans' Court of Delaware County, No. 922 of 1962, in re estate of Elsie Alexander, deceased. Appeal quashed.

COUNSEL

Henry Thomas Dolan, with him Catello Pizza, for appellants.

Joseph E. Greene, Jr., with him Paul I. Guest, and Grubb, Guest & Littleton, for appellees.

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

Author: Roberts

[ 414 Pa. Page 475]

OPINION BY MR. JUSTICE ROBERTS

On this appeal, we need not and, indeed, on the record presented, cannot reach the merits. The decree appealed from is clearly interlocutory and not appealable. The appeal, therefore, must be quashed.

Decedent died in New Jersey, and the administration of her estate has been undertaken in the appropriate court there. Appellants, residents of Pennsylvania, claim to be personal representatives and trustees under a holographic will alleged to be in decedent's safety deposit box in a New Jersey bank. Appellants filed a petition with the Register of Wills of Delaware County for a citation to enforce production of the will, alleging that decedent died a domiciliary of Pennsylvania. This action was opposed by decedent's next of kin and others, who contend that decedent was domiciled in New Jersey.

Appellants also petitioned the orphans' court, to which the matter was certified by the register, for a citation against six respondents (five individuals and a banking corporation), all of New Jersey, to produce the will. In another petition, appellants seek an injunction restraining the New Jersey residents and also eleven Pennsylvania corporate depositories from disposing

[ 414 Pa. Page 476]

    of certain assets of decedent alleged to be in their possession.

The court granted a citation, and the New Jersey residents and the New Jersey bank filed preliminary objections. The court sustained the preliminary objections filed by the New Jersey residents not served in Pennsylvania and who did not voluntarily submit to its jurisdiction. The decree, however, retained jurisdiction over others properly served in the Commonwealth or before the court by general appearance and over assets located within Pennsylvania. No order issued compelling production of the will.

As we have already noted, our examination of the decree and record satisfies us that the decree is preliminary and interlocutory, not definitive or final, and does not constitute an appealable determination. The decree does not terminate a legal controversy nor does it preclude any of the parties from further action in the court below. On the contrary, the decree, by its express terms, specifically preserves all rights which the ...


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