No. 236 March Term 1977, Appeal from the Decree of the Court of Common Pleas, Orphans' Court Division, of Allegheny County at No. 946 of 1977.
Donald Laird Hankey, B. Earnest Long, Carl E. Fisher, Greensburg, for appellant.
James Irwin, Arnold, for appellee.
Eagen, C. J., and Roberts, Pomeroy, Nix and Larsen, JJ. Larsen, J., dissents. O'Brien and Manderino, JJ., did not participate in the consideration or decision of this case. Pomeroy, former J., did not participate in the decision of this case.
This appeal challenges a final decree of the Court of Common Pleas of Allegheny County, Orphans' Court Division, which ruled in part that the proceeds of a savings bank account in the joint names of Joseph Gladowski, deceased, and his daughter, Ann Mazuran, are not an asset of the decedent's estate, but rather the property of Ann Mazuran.
The appellants are three of the decedent's seven surviving children.*fn1
Joseph Gladowski died testate on September 30, 1976, at the age of eighty-five. He had come to the United States from Poland at the age of twelve and worked as a coal miner for forty years. A widower since 1936, Gladowski retired due to disability in 1951 at the age of sixty. Subsequently, he suffered from numerous serious physical ailments. His daughter, Ann Mazuran, lived with him and cared for him during his many illnesses.
The decedent was a party to four transactions which have a bearing on this case. On September 21, 1963, he executed a deed conveying title to his residence*fn2 to himself, Joseph Gladowski, and Ann Mazuran as joint tenants with right of survivorship. On that same day, decedent executed a will naming Ann Mazuran executrix and authorizing her to sell all of his real estate and, after paying his debts and funeral expenses, to divide and distribute the residue of the estate in equal shares to his seven-named children.
On March 4, 1966, decedent opened a joint savings account in the names of Joseph Gladowski or Mrs. Ann Mazuran as joint tenants with right of survivorship. On June 26, 1975, decedent executed a second will naming Ann Mazuran executrix, devising his residence specifically to Ann Mazuran, and bequeathing the residue of his estate in equal shares to his seven-named children. The terms of this will are substantially the same as the earlier will except for the disposition of decedent's residence.
At the time of his death, decedent had the following: (1) the savings account held jointly with Ann Mazuran containing a balance of $16,226.66 (The account was originally opened with a deposit of $217.40; all of the deposits consisted of decedent's money; on June 30, 1975, the ...