Appeal from decree of Court of Common Pleas, Orphans' Court Division, of Berks County, No. 66136, in re estate of James W. Weiss, deceased. Appeal of Joan A. Kemp.
Jay N. Abramowitch, with him Williamson, Miller, Murray and Linton, for appellant.
Geoffrey M. Stoudt, with him Rhoda, Stoudt & Bradley, for appellee.
Bell, C. J., Jones, Eagen, O'Brien, Roberts, Pomeroy and Barbieri, JJ. Opinion by Mr. Chief Justice Bell.
James W. Weiss died on May 29, 1970, at the age of 62. On August 10, 1970, Joan A. Kemp presented a petition for the probate of decedent's (alleged) will to the Register of Wills of Berks County, who refused probate. Joan A. Kemp thereupon took an appeal to the Orphans' Court (Division), which entered an Order sustaining the action of the Register. After her exceptions to the Order were dismissed, Joan A. Kemp took the present appeal.
The issue in the case is a very narrow one: was the purported will of James W. Weiss signed "at the end thereof," as required by Section 2 of the Wills Act of 1947, P. L. 89, 20 P.S. § 180.2.
The purported will was written on a printed will form, in the blank spaces of which gifts of his entire estate were made by decedent in his handwriting. Furthermore, on this form, which was dated July 3, 1968, Joan A. Kemp was appointed executrix. On the line
normally and ordinarily used for the signature of a testator, there appeared the signature of John B. Boyd, Justice of the Peace. The signature of the decedent was written vertically along the left side margin of the printed form. A photostat copy of this instrument is attached.
If the validity of the will is sustained, Joan A. Kemp, whose relationship to the decedent does not appear in the record, would share the estate equally with her minor son James T. Kemp, and with the decedent's minor granddaughter Patricia L. Parkyn. If the will is held to be invalid, the ...