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RALSTON ESTATE (04/19/66)

decided: April 19, 1966.

RALSTON ESTATE


Appeal from decree of Orphans' Court of Westmoreland County, No. 144 of 1963, in re estate of Sidney S. Ralston, deceased.

COUNSEL

Edwin J. Morrell, for appellant.

W. Davis Graham, with him Robert M. Carson, for appellee.

Musmanno, Jones, Cohen, Eagen, O'Brien and Roberts, JJ. Opinion by Mr. Justice Jones.

Author: Jones

[ 421 Pa. Page 101]

This appeal requires the construction and interpretation of a holographic will of Sidney S. Ralston, a resident of Westmoreland County, who died January 7, 1963.

In 1951, testatrix, then 58 years of age, had married Robert S. Ralston, then 60 years of age. Ralston had been previously married and had one child and grandchildren. Testatrix had not been previously married and, at the time of her death, in addition to her husband, she was survived by one living brother, Bernard A. Sutton (the present appellant), a niece and a nephew, children of a deceased brother, and a niece, the only child of her living brother.

Testatrix' will contained provisions for her husband, brother, one niece and one nephew, for her church, other churches and charity, and pecuniary bequests

[ 421 Pa. Page 102]

    to certain friends and a disposition of her personal effects and of realty.

The instant controversy arises solely by reason of the first portion of testatrix' will which reads as follows: "The following bequests are to be made to Robert S. Ralston the interest on $25,000.00 Trust Fund or enough to make an income of $100 per month, principal at his death to be given 1/2 to West Newton United Presbyterian Church and 1/2 to my brother, Bernard A. Sutton, 216 N. 25th Ave., Yakima, Wash. Also all of my A.T.&T. Co. stock and 200 shares Duquesne Light Co. Common stock and anything he may wish in the house." (Emphasis supplied)

Bernard Sutton (the appellant) claims that, under this clause of the will, he became not only the remainderman of one half of the corpus of the $25,000 trust fund upon the death of Robert Ralston*fn1 but also the legatee of the A.T.&T. and Duquesne Light Co. stock. The Estate of Robert Ralston takes the position that Ralston became the legatee of such stock.

At the time of audit of the account in this estate, the Orphans' Court of Westmoreland County held that the testatrix' intent was clearly shown in the language of the will and that it was ...


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