Joseph D. Talarico, DeCello, Bua & Manifesto, P. C., Pittsburgh, for appellant.
Robert D. Barozzini, Charles F. McKenna, Pittsburgh, for appellee.
Eagen, O'Brien, Roberts, Pomeroy, Nix and Manderino, JJ. Jones, C. J., did not participate in the consideration or decision of this opinion.
In 1926, appellant William Casey Porter was declared incompetent to manage his estate under the Act of May 28, 1907, P.L. 292, repealed by Act of June 28, 1951, P.L. 612, art. VIII, § 801. In March, 1974, appellant petitioned for an adjudication of competency under section 323 of the Incompetents' Estates Act of 1955.*fn1 The orphans' court denied the petition and this appeal ensued.*fn2 We conclude that the orphans' court abused its discretion by rejecting the uncontradicted testimony of appellant's experts that he is competent and therefore reverse.
Appellant was born in March, 1896. In 1926, his sister commenced proceedings to have appellant declared incompetent. After a hearing, at which the testimony indicated that appellant suffered from epileptic seizures, he was adjudicated a feeble-minded person and a guardian was appointed to manage his estate, which was then valued at about $60,000. In 1974, his estate was valued at about $250,000.
Since 1927, appellant has been living in the home of a friend, Florance G. Keller, and his wife. The guardian has supplied appellant with a personal allowance and has provided Mr. Keller with funds for appellant's board, room and general maintenance. Appellant currently receives $225 per month, and Mr. Keller receives $325 per month.
On March 29, 1974, appellant filed the instant petition.*fn3 Notice was given to the guardian and to appellant's niece and nephew,*fn4 the appellee here. A hearing was held at which a psychiatrist, a psychologist, and a physician who is an expert in the field of geriatrics all testified that appellant is competent. Appellees cross-examined appellant's witnesses, but they did not present any witnesses of their own. On August 9, 1974, the orphans'
court filed an opinion in which it dismissed the petition. Appellant's exceptions were dismissed and this appeal followed.
Appellant may be deprived of the full control of his property only if he is an incompetent as ...