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ESTATE ANNA M. WATSON (09/11/81)

filed: September 11, 1981.

IN RE THE ESTATE OF ANNA M. WATSON, DECEASED. APPEAL OF FLORENCE WALLACE


No. 254 Philadelphia, 1981, Appeal from the Order of the Court of Common Pleas of Delaware County, Pennsylvania, Orphans' Court Division, Entered on the 28th Day of January, 1981, at No. 355 of 1979.

COUNSEL

Thomas J. Reilly, Upper Darby, for appellant.

Roy Davis, Drexel Hill, for appellee.

Wickersham, Montemuro and Watkins, JJ.

Author: Montemuro

[ 290 Pa. Super. Page 385]

The instant case concerns the disposition of a savings account of the type commonly known as a "Totten Trust." The account was funded by decedent, Anna M. Watson; and the signature card indicated that the passbook represented a survivorship account, in favor of decedent's sister Florence Wallace, appellant in this action.

Decedent had appointed a niece, Mary Anne Widmaier, to be her executrix, and in that capacity the niece sued for return of the funds to the estate. The court below found for the executrix/appellee, but upon review this court has found that appellee failed to meet her burden of proof and the very strong presumption favoring the co-tenant of the trust must prevail. Therefore, we reverse.

The law relevant to this type of account is well-known and in fact is correctly stated by both parties and the court below. The statute, in pertinent part, states at 20 P.S. 6304:

Right of survivorship

(a) Joint Account. -- Any sum remaining on deposit at the death of a party to a joint account belongs to the surviving

[ 290 Pa. Super. Page 386]

    party or parties as against the estate of the decedent unless there is clear and convincing evidence of a different ...


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