No. 152 March Term, 1978, Appeal from the Decree of the Court of Common Pleas of Greene County, Pennsylvania, at No. 49 Orphans' Court, 1976
George Retos, Jr., Retos, Symons & Clarke, Washington, for appellant.
Debbie O'Dell, Washington, for Edward Kiger, Executor of the Estate.
James Hook, Waynesburg, for Mr. and Mrs. Robert Hennen, et al.
Eagen, C. J., and O'Brien, Roberts, Nix, Manderino, Larsen and Flaherty, JJ. Manderino, J., did not participate in the decision of this case.
On June 18, 1976, Victor E. Kiger, the testator, died. A will dated April 16, 1976, was offered for probate on August 3, 1976. On August 12, 1976, appellant, Fred Kiger, brother
of the testator, filed a caveat, alleging that the testator's will was the result of undue influence exercised over the testator by the appellees, Robert R. and Nancy Hennen, beneficiaries under the testator's will.
Following a hearing, the Register of Wills of Greene County ruled on September 29, 1977, that the will was valid. Pursuant to a petition filed by the appellees, the Orphans' Court of Greene County, in the presence of the parties and their attorneys, issued a decree limiting the appeal time to six months from the date of the Register's decision. Appellant filed an appeal from the decision of the Register of Wills on May 8, 1978. On August 4, 1978, the court granted the appellees' motion to strike the appeal, holding the appeal was untimely filed. This appeal is from the decree striking the appeal.
Appellant first argues the court erred in limiting the time for appeal to six months. The court entered the decree pursuant to § 908 of the Probate Estates & Fiduciaries Code,*fn1 which stated:
". . . Any party in interest who is aggrieved by a decree of the register, or a fiduciary whose estate or trust is so aggrieved, may appeal therefrom to the court within two years of the decree . . . . The court, upon petition of a party in interest, may limit the ...