Appeal From Order Entered June 5, 1987, Court of Common Pleas, Civil Division, Lancaster County No. 84 March Term, 1983.
John E. Huber, Lancaster, for appellant.
Elizabeth A. Hambrick-Stowe, Lancaster, for appellee.
Cavanaugh, McEwen and Tamilia, JJ. Tamilia, J., files concurring statement.
[ 372 Pa. Super. Page 195]
The first issue in this case is whether a court in determining equitable distribution of marital property may take into consideration a spouse's possibility of an inheritance upon the death of his or her parents.
Barbara L. Gruver, the appellee herein, and Allen C. Gruver, the appellant, were married on March 25, 1972 and separated on February 19, 1982. Mrs. Gruver filed a Complaint in Divorce on March 8, 1983 alleging irretrievable breakdown of the marriage, and requesting, inter alia, equitable distribution of marital property. Mr. Gruver subsequently filed a counterclaim in divorce on the ground of indignities.
A special master was appointed by the court who filed a master's report following hearings. The master recommended that a divorce decree be entered and he submitted a proposed equitable distribution of marital property. Both parties filed exceptions to the report relating only to the
[ 372 Pa. Super. Page 196]
issue of equitable distribution. The court sustained all of the appellee's exceptions and sustained the appellant's exceptions in part and dismissed them in part and directed equitable distribution. Prior to entry of a divorce decree, Mr. Gruver appealed to this court and we quashed the appeal as a final decree in divorce had not been entered. See Campbell v. Campbell, 357 Pa. Super. 483, 516 A.2d 363 (1986). Subsequently, a final decree in divorce was entered on June 5, 1987 and an appeal has been taken.
At the master's hearing, Mrs. Gruver testified concerning her husband's parents, both of whom are over age 65, and their assets. According to the appellee, Mr. Gruver's parents were concerned about the amount of inheritance taxes that were paid when Mr. Gruver's grandfather died and "his mother and father went to see a lawyer and had their estate changed." Mr. Gruver has one sister and no brothers and according to Mrs. Gruver, his parents told her that "it would be split 50-50 as far as the inheritance when the time came." (N.T. 142).
Mrs. Gruver was asked if Mr. Gruver's parents ever discussed with her the amount of money they thought they would leave at their deaths and she testified:
A. I don't really know if figures were actually totaled up but after we would have the talks we would go over about how much money was sitting here and how much money was sitting there and just off the top of my head, you know, from what they have sitting in CD's and with the property they own, I ...