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MOORE WILL (06/01/71)

decided: June 1, 1971.

MOORE WILL


Appeal from decree of Court of Common Pleas, Orphans' Court Division, of Lawrence County, March T., 1967, No. 24, in re estate of Edith B. Moore, deceased.

COUNSEL

George H. Hancher, with him Barletta & Hancher, for appellants.

Phillip E. Morris, with him Thomas F. Nelson, David A. Brownlee, and Morris and McKim, and Kirpatrick, Lockhart, Johnson & Hutchison, for appellees.

Bell, C. J., Jones, Eagen, O'Brien, Roberts and Barbieri, JJ. Opinion by Mr. Chief Justice Bell. Mr. Justice Jones and Mr. Justice Roberts dissent. Mr. Justice Pomeroy took no part in the consideration or decision of this case.

Author: Bell

[ 443 Pa. Page 478]

The question in this appeal is whether a writing executed by decedent is a codicil to an existing will and should have been admitted to probate, or merely a non-testamentary letter, or a draft of a letter from the decedent to her attorney.

Decedent, Edith B. Moore, died testate on December 24, 1965, in Ellwood City, Pennsylvania. Her will dated July 13, 1959, was duly probated. A document dated May 3, 1964, purporting to be a codicil to this will was also offered for probate, along with proof of the decedent's signature thereon. Decedent's will was found in her safe deposit box in her bank and the alleged codicil in a safe in her home. The alleged codicil reads:

"May 3-1964.

"Mr. Thomas P. Johnson;

Lawrence Savings & Trust Co.:

" I wish to change*fn* Article 2 of my Will dated July 13-1959 to read:

"'I give and bequeath to my sister, Florence B. Hoover, all of my personal effects, jewelry, clothing, automobile, also property on Park Avenue including house and entire contents of house.

" Also, add to my Will -- Max Leon Hoover to receive 5000 shares of Mathews Conveyor Company stock, and all of my 'E' Bonds to be turned over to him, ...


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