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RICHARDS WILL (04/22/70)

decided: April 22, 1970.

RICHARDS WILL


Appeal from decree of Court of Common Pleas, Orphans' Court Division, of Berks County, No. 61611, in re estate of Maud T. Richards, also known as Maude T. Richards, deceased.

COUNSEL

H. Ober Hess, with him Benjamin R. Neilson, Alan M. Hawman, Jr., and Ballard, Spahr, Andrews & Ingersoll, for appellants.

Clinton J. Najarian and Joseph E. DeSantis, with them David H. Roland, David J. Batdorf, and Balmer, Mogel, Speidel & Roland, and Stevens & Lee, and McGavin, DeSantis & Koch, for appellees.

Bell, C. J., Jones, Cohen, Eagen, O'Brien, Roberts and Pomeroy, JJ. Opinion by Mr. Chief Justice Bell. Mr. Justice Pomeroy dissents on the basis of Kauffman Will, Author: Bell

[ 439 Pa. Page 6]

This appeal raises the question of whether the hereinafter-quoted holographic writing is a will.

Maud T. Richards died on August 9, 1967. Two days later Miriam Becker, the decedent's niece, petitioned the Register of Wills for letters of administration c.t.a. and offered for probate an undated document which purported to be decedent's will. It was written on the back of an envelope, and read as follows:

[ 439 Pa. Page 7]

"Will

Notify Miriam Becker to take care of me

     and my things for her use if I pass away

Maud T. Richards"

This will,*fn1 which had been in the possession of Miriam Becker for over six months prior to Mrs. Richards' death, was admitted to probate by the Register of Wills.

Thereafter, an appeal was taken from the probate of that document on the ground*fn2 that a later writing dated August 3, 1967 represented the decedent's last will. This last-mentioned writing consisted of five handwritten pages which (1) merely listed item after item of household furnishings and personal effects, and (2) then concluded with the following language: "Mr. Roland this is the list you ask for come as soon as you can I want to make a will.*fn3 I want George Tobias to have $15,000.00 for your kindness Mr. Roland you ...


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