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ESTATE LILLIAN MUSSELMAN (07/10/81)

decided: July 10, 1981.

IN RE ESTATE OF LILLIAN MUSSELMAN, DECEASED. APPEAL OF HOME FOR HOMELESS WOMEN. APPEAL OF MARGARET TOMKINS, EXECUTRIX


No. 160 Jan. Term, 1979, No. 176 Jan. Term, 1979, Appeals from the Decree Entered March 13, 1979 Court of Common Pleas, Orphans' Court Division, Luzerne County at No. 608 of 1973

COUNSEL

Frank Townend, Wilkes-Barre, for appellant at 160 and appellee at 176.

Albert H. Aston, Sr., Wilkes-Barre, for appellant at 176 and appellee at 160.

Roberts, Nix, Larsen, Flaherty, Kauffman and Wilkinson, JJ. Nix and Kauffman, JJ., concurred in the result. O'Brien, C. J., did not participate in the consideration or decision of this case.

Author: Wilkinson

[ 494 Pa. Page 573]

OPINION OF THE COURT

This case involves cross appeals from a final decree of the Court of Common Pleas of Luzerne County dismissing the exceptions of the Home for Homeless Women and Margaret Tomkins to the adjudication of the auditing judge in the Estate of Lillian Musselman.

Lillian Musselman, decedent, was admitted to the Home for Homeless Women (hereinafter the Home), a residence for elderly women, on May 14, 1971. Upon admission, decedent signed a document known as the "Book of Registration" which provided that in consideration of the Home's promise to provide and care for her for the rest of her life, she agreed to assign and transfer all her property, then owned or after-acquired, to the Home. The agreement further provided that decedent could be discharged from the Home for failure to abide by its regulations and that in the event the decedent should permanently leave the institution, only the sum of $500 plus $3 per week for the entire number of weeks decedent resided there would be retained by the Home.*fn1 Presumably, the balance of the individual's estate

[ 494 Pa. Page 574]

    would be returned in the event of a permanent withdrawal. In addition, prior to her admission, decedent paid an entry fee of $4,000 and agreed to turn over one-half of her monthly social security benefits to the Home.

On June 23, 1972, decedent was evacuated from the Home shortly before the flood waters of Hurricane Agnes inundated the entire Wilkes-Barre area. It appears that she spent the next six months living with a friend before the Home secured substitute accommodations for her and other evacuees at the Lutheran Home in Hazleton, Pennsylvania. Decedent entered the Lutheran Home on approximately January 8, 1973, under the terms and conditions of the original agreement, and remained there until her death on April 7, 1973.*fn2

It is undisputed that after her initial admission to the Home in May 1971, decedent acquired ...


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