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HELEN BALAZICK v. LOIS B. IRETON (05/20/88)

decided: May 20, 1988.

HELEN BALAZICK, APPELLEE,
v.
LOIS B. IRETON, APPELLANT



Appeal from the Order of Superior Court at No. 1279 Pittsburgh 1985, dated August 15, 1986 (the Superior Court Reargument denied on October 14, 1986), reversing the Order of the Court of Common Pleas, Civil Division, Greene County, dated August 27, 1985, at No. 16 in Equity of 1984. Nix, C.j., and Larsen, Flaherty, McDermott, Zappala, Papadakos and Stout, JJ.

Author: Flaherty

[ 518 Pa. Page 129]

OPINION OF THE COURT

In 1980 Helen Balazick and her husband Charles created five joint accounts with the First National Bank of Wheeling in the face amount of $54,000 each. Each of these accounts, which took the form of repurchase agreements, was titled jointly in the names of one of the parents and one of their five children, with a different child's name appearing on each certificate with one of the parents.*fn1

The agreements were titled as follows:

NAME AMOUNT

1. Charles Balazick or Charles J. Balazick $54,000

2. Charles Balazick or Theresa Albert $54,000

3. Charles Balazick or Edith Bunting $54,000

4. Helen Balazick or Lois Ireton $54,000

5. Helen Balazick or Rose Alcorn $54,000

Except for a small sum of money contributed to make each of the certificates of equal amount, the money used to create these five repurchase agreements came from the accumulated savings of Helen and Charles Balazick which had previously been held in various accounts titled as tenants by the entireties.

The reason for creating the five accounts listed above was to provide a scheme whereby the Balazicks' children could inherit equal shares of cash at the death of their parents without going through probate. As the trial court found, however, the purpose in creating these accounts was also to afford the parents control over the funds during their lifetimes:

[ 518 Pa. Page 130]

The plaintiff and her husband desired to control the funds during their lifetimes in order to be able to use the interest from them, if they so desired, or any amount of the principal, with the unused portion to pass to the children as planned.

When Charles Balazick died in November of 1982, the three agreements in the joint names of Charles Balazick or Charles J. Balazick, Charles Balazick or Theresa Albert, and Charles Balazick or Edith Bunting passed to the surviving children. The agreements in the names of Helen Balazick or Lois Ireton ...


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