Appeal from the Order entered on October 15, 1986, in the Court of Common Pleas of Montgomery County, Orphans' Division, at No. 84-505.
Carl N. Weiner, Lensdale, for appellant.
Douglas A. Gifford, Souderton, for appellee.
Brosky, Wieand and Beck, JJ. Wieand, J., concurs in the result.
[ 368 Pa. Super. Page 175]
This is an an appeal by William J. Irvin from an order dismissing exceptions to the denial of his petition to have Melba F. Wood adjudicated incompetent. We affirm the order of the trial court.
Appellant Irvin is the step-nephew of Mrs. Wood. He is the step-son of Mrs. Wood's late husband's brother. In 1982, Mrs. Wood gave appellant's wife Bertha Irvin a power of attorney. In 1984, Mrs. Wood released the power of attorney. She then entered into a revocable inter vivos trust agreement with the Union National Bank and Trust Company of Souderton ("the Bank") which now handles her financial affairs. Shortly thereafter, appellant Irvin filed a petition under the Decedents, Estates and Fiduciaries Code requesting that Mrs. Wood be declared incompetent and that his wife Bertha Irvin be appointed her guardian. See 20 Pa.Cons.Stat.Ann. § 5511 (Purdon 1975). The petition alleged that Mrs. Wood was eighty-four years old, that she resided in a nursing home, and that she was unable to manage her property, and was liable to dissipate it or become the victim of designing persons.
The Orphans' Court Division of the Court of Common Pleas of Montgomery County held a competency hearing. Mr. Irvin testified that in recent months Mrs. Wood had appeared very confused. He related the following incidents: Mrs. Wood had claimed that for three days she had nothing to eat at the nursing home although she was well fed; she had attempted to eat breakfast cereal with a fork; she had been unaware that a lens was missing from her glasses; and she had stated on one occasion that her deceased husband would need a sweater the following winter.
Counsel for appellant Irvin called Mrs. Wood to the stand. Mrs. Wood could not accurately state her age, or the name of the nursing home where she lived, or the names of the President of the United States or of the Governor of Pennsylvania. She did not know the purpose of the incompetency proceeding, and she could not describe the difference
[ 368 Pa. Super. Page 176]
between a checking account and a savings account. She also admitted that her memory "sometimes slows up . . ." N.T. at 19. However, she was aware that the Bank was managing her money.
Q. Did you want Bertha [to] continue acting as your power-of-attorney in handling your finances?
A. No, we have -- for the estate we have the bank, and we're well pleased with it.
Q. Okay. But you decided you didn't want Bertha; is that right? To continue?
A. Well, yes, that's right.
Q. You don't write any checks on ...