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ESTATE CONSTANCE CHIARA (07/06/76)

decided: July 6, 1976.

IN RE ESTATE OF CONSTANCE CHIARA, DECEASED. APPEAL OF GLORIA C. MURPHY


COUNSEL

Paul E. Clouser, Harrisburg, for appellant.

Leslie B. Handler, Harrisburg, for appellee.

Jones, C. J., and Eagen, O'Brien, Roberts, Pomeroy and Nix, JJ. Manderino, J., did not participate in the consideration or decision of this case. Nix, J., concurs in the result. Jones, C. J., and Roberts, J., would affirm the decree of the Orphans' Court.

Author: Pomeroy

[ 467 Pa. Page 588]

OPINION

This appeal raises the question whether $32,000 of a decedent's money deposited in two banks and represented by three savings certificates is an asset of the decedent's estate, or whether, on the contrary, the money had been given by decedent in her lifetime to her son, Joseph E. Chiara. The orphans' court division held the latter.

Constance Chiara, the decedent, died testate on October 26, 1969. Her will was duly probated and letters testamentary

[ 467 Pa. Page 589]

    issued to decedent's two children, Joseph and a daughter, Gloria. The will provided that, except for certain named personal possessions which were bequeathed to Gloria, all property was to be divided equally between Joseph and Gloria.

Because of disagreements between the two children, they resigned as executors and Dauphin Deposit Trust Company [hereinafter "Dauphin Deposit"] was appointed administrator d. b. n., c. t. a. Dauphin Deposit filed a first and final account and a statement of proposed distribution on March 8, 1973. Gloria and Joseph each filed objections to the account. After depositions and a hearing the court overruled Gloria's objections except as to the personalty specifically identified in the will.*fn1 Gloria then took this appeal.

Gloria asserts as error the lower court's holding that the three savings certificates or their proceeds constituted inter vivos gifts to her brother. Two of the certificates, one for $2,000 and the other for $16,000, were issued by the Harrisburg National Bank and Trust Company [hereinafter "Harrisburg National"] in September and October, 1968. They were made out to "Mrs. Constance Chiara or Joseph E. Chiara." The other certificate was in the sum of $14,000 and was issued by Dauphin Deposit on January 27, 1968 to "Mrs. Constance Chiara or Mr. Joseph E. Chiara." It is Gloria's contention that the funds represented by the certificates belonged to Mrs. Chiara alone during her lifetime; that the use of Joseph's name on the certificates was merely a "convenience"; and that all of the certificates should be treated as assets of the probate estate and their proceeds equally distributed between herself and her brother.

The principles of law governing inter vivos gifts made through the medium of joint ...


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