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ESTATE ROBERT G. BAKER (09/24/81)

decided: September 24, 1981.

IN RE THE ESTATE OF ROBERT G. BAKER, DECEASED. APPEAL OF EDWIN AND GENEVIEVE OLSON


No. 210 January Term, 1979, Appeal From the Decree Entered January 30, 1978 of the Court of Common Pleas of the Fifty-Ninth Judicial District, Cameron County Branch, Orphans' Court Division, No. 20 of 1977, Docket S, Page 377

COUNSEL

John E. Rydesky, Emporium, for appellant.

Merle G. Johnson, Port Allegany, for executor.

John A. Duvall, Coudersport, for residuary legatees.

O'Brien, C. J., and Roberts, Nix, Larsen, Flaherty, Kauffman and Wilkinson, JJ. Larsen, J., concurs in the result.

Author: Wilkinson

[ 495 Pa. Page 523]

OPINION OF THE COURT

This is an appeal from a decree of the Court of Common Pleas of Cameron County dealing with the disputed ownership of various items of personal property as well as the distribution of the above estate. The decree directed appellants to surrender a John Deere bulldozer to appellee, executor of the estate, or to pay the reasonable value thereof into the estate. It further denied appellants' claim to distribution of a 1973 Buick sedan and to the contents of a safe.*fn1

[ 495 Pa. Page 524]

The safe was found within the house devised to appellants together with its furnishings. The car presumably was found in the garage. The decree directed that the car and the contents of the safe be included in the residue of the estate.*fn2

Robert G. Baker died testate on April 15, 1977, leaving a will which he had executed on April 6, 1977. ITEM II of the will stated: "I give, devise and bequeath my house and garage, located in the Borough of Emporium, as well as all furnishings within said house, to my neighbors and good friends, EDWIN OLSON and GENEVIEVE OLSON, absolutely."

Appellee-executor petitioned the trial court to determine ownership of the John Deere bulldozer in the appellants' possession, the car, and the contents of the safe alleging that appellants claimed ownership of the bulldozer as an inter vivos gift and of the car and the safe's contents as part of the devise of the house and all its furnishings under ITEM II of the will. Appellants filed an answer to the petition. At a hearing held on November 9, 1977, the appellants, the appellee-executor (who also drafted the will), Mr. Grovanz, two friends of the decedent and two of decedent's attending nurses testified. The lower court noted the appellee's objection to the testimony of the donees but allowed them to testify reserving the right to rule on the issue after the hearing. The lower court held: (1) that the contents of the safe and the car did ...


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