Appeals from decree of Orphans' Court of Washington County, No. 64 of 1962 A.A., in re estate of Hazel E. Carson, deceased.
August L. Sismondo, with him Adolph L. Zeman, Robert L. Zeman, and Zeman and Zeman, for appellant.
Fred C. Houston, Jr., with him John H. Davidson, and Houston, Houston & Donnelly, for appellee.
Musmanno, Jones, Cohen, Eagen, O'Brien and Roberts, JJ. Opinion by Mr. Justice Cohen. Mr. Justice Eagen concurs in the result. Mr. Chief Justice Bell took no part in the consideration or decision of this case.
Two sisters, Hazel E. Carson and Bethel C. Lutz, resided together in Fallowfield Township, Washington County. Hazel Carson was a supervising principal and Bethel Lutz was a librarian in the Charleroi Area Schools. On October 16, 1959, Hazel entered the hospital and was subsequently discharged on November 7, 1959, it having been ascertained that she was suffering from incurable cancer. She remained at her home until her death on June 28, 1960.
On October 20, 1959, shortly after her admittance to the hospital, Hazel secured a signature card and transferred her checking account in the Western Pennsylvania National Bank from an account in her name alone to a joint account in the names of herself and her sister Bethel with right of survivorship.
On October 23, 1959, Hazel executed an application making her sister Bethel the named beneficiary of her
individual contributions to the Public School Employes' Retirement System. By document dated May 1, 1960, Hazel designated Bethel as beneficiary of all her retirement benefits, including her contributions as well as contributions made to the retirement fund by her employer and by the Commonwealth. The amount paid to Bethel as beneficiary under the retirement system was $31,913.93.
On November 16, 1959, Hazel executed a form for the reissuance of Series "E" United States Savings Bonds, having a maturity value of $20,400, changing the ownership from herself to herself or Bethel with right of survivorship. This transfer was effectuated in the presence of an officer and employee of the Western Pennsylvania National Bank.
On May 14, 1960, Bethel drew two checks on said joint checking account -- one in the amount of $15,000 in payment for United States Savings Bonds having a maturity value of $20,000, which bonds were then registered in the names of Hazel or Bethel with right of survivorship, and the other for $10,500 in payment for 300 shares of common stock of Western Pennsylvania National Bank which stock was also registered in the names of Hazel or Bethel with right of survivorship.
Hazel died testate naming her two surviving sisters, Bethel and Marjorie C. Rist as co-executrices of her estate. An inventory and later a first and partial account for distribution was filed by Bethel. Mrs. Rist refused to join in the filing, claiming that the Inventory and Account should have included the following assets in decedent's estate: (1) the balance in the joint checking account in the amount of $10,616.08; (2) the United States Savings Bonds having a ...