Appeal from order of Court of Common Pleas, Orphans' Court Division, of Allegheny County, No. 672 of 1972, in re estate of Richard A. Glenn.
H. David Rothman, with him Wiley A. Bucey, Jr., for appellant.
G. Donald Gerlach, with him John C. Unkovic, C. Bryson Schreiner, and Reed, Smith, Shaw & McClay, for appellee.
Jones, C. J., Eagen, O'Brien, Roberts, Pomeroy, Nix and Manderino, JJ. Opinion by Mr. Chief Justice Jones. Concurring Opinion by Mr. Justice Roberts. Mr. Justice Manderino joins in this concurring opinion.
By his "Last Will and Testament", dated June 22, 1967, Richard A. Glenn bequeathed his personal estate to his adopted son, Richard B. Glenn. Testator also devised real estate to the appellant son. The residue is devised and bequeathed to Robert Lee Glenn, the decedent's brother, and the Mercantile Bank of Dallas, Texas, in trust. The trustees are directed to distribute the income to Richard B. Glenn, "for his benefit or that of his family", with discretion to invade the principal to benefit the appellant and his family. Distribution of shares of the principal is scheduled to be made to appellant, Richard B. Glenn, at ages thirty-five, forty and forty-five.*fn1
The body of Richard A. Glenn was discovered on February 1, 1972. On February 2, 1972, appellant Richard B. Glenn was arrested and charged with his father's murder.*fn2
Appellant has admitted to committing the acts resulting in his father's death, but he has interposed the defense of insanity. His criminal trial was scheduled for July 5, 1972, but was postponed, upon appellant's motion, pending the disposition of this appeal of the lower court's denial of appellant's Petition for an Advancement of funds from the decedent's estate. Appellant seeks an advancement purportedly necessary to defend the criminal indictment against him. The executor*fn3 has questioned, successfully in the court below, whether the Slayer's Act, Act of August 5, 1941, P. L. 816, §§ 1-16, 20 P.S. §§ 3441-3456, should bar appellant's advancement.
The Slayer's Act provides that "[n]o slayer shall in any way acquire any property or receive any benefit as the result of the death of the decedent. . . ." Act of August 5, 1941, P. L. 816, § 2, 20 P.S. § 3442. The term "slayer" is defined in the Act as "any person who
participates, either as a principal or as an accessory before the fact, in the wilful and unlawful killing of any other person." Id. § 1, 20 P.S. § 3441.
Appellant urges that the order of the lower court denying appellant's advancement abridges the presumption of innocence in his forthcoming criminal proceeding, thereby denying ...