Appeal from the Decree entered December 23, 1987 in the Court of Common Pleas of Warren County, Orphans Division, No. 58 of 1987.
Arthur J. Stewart, Warren, for appellant.
Sue A. Pfadt, Erie, for appellees.
Brosky, Kelly and Hester, JJ.
[ 380 Pa. Super. Page 220]
In this appeal, we are called upon to consider whether an adult adoptee qualifies as an "issue" of an adopting parent under the provisions of a will drafted by a testator who died prior to the adoption of the adult adoptee by the testator's child. We find that the adult adoptee does not. Accordingly, we affirm the final decree of the trial court.
The relevant facts and procedural history may be summarized as follows. Albert Walter Goal (Testator) died August 5, 1954, leaving his testamentary trust under date of May 25, 1950, appointing Warren Bank and Trust Company or its successor as Trustee and Executor of Testator's Last Will and Testament.
Testator devised and bequeathed, except for a $1,000.00 cash provision, all of his property in trust for the benefit of his children, Helen Uldene Renick and Robert Hamilton Goal (Decedent). Under the terms of the trust, the trustee is directed to pay over and deliver two-thirds (2/3) of the net income from the trust estate to Helen U. Renick and one-third (1/3) of the net income to Decedent for their respective lives. The trust further directs, after the demise of Helen Renick and Decedent, their respective fractional share of income is to be distributed to the issue of Testator's two children per stirpes.*fn1
[ 380 Pa. Super. Page 221]
On March 3, 1987, Decedent died. He was survived by three natural daughters, Charlotte A. Hendrickson, Elizabeth Jean Jackson and Johnnie Mae Bauder. Decedent was also survived by his adopted son, appellant, adopted on January 30, 1984, when he was forty-one years of age.*fn2
On June 26, 1987, appellant filed a petition for declaratory judgment under Section 7535 of the Judicial Code (42 Pa.C.S.A. § 7535) addressing the rights of fiduciaries and other persons in regard to a person interested in the estate of a decedent. A hearing was held before Judge Wolfe on October 26, 1987. On November 30, 1987, Judge Wolfe filed his adjudication and decree nisi which denied appellant his requested relief. Timely exceptions were filed and denied. On December 23, 1987, Judge Wolfe entered his decree absolute. This timely appeal followed.
Our standard of review in this case is well settled. In reviewing findings of the Orphan's Court, we must accept as true all evidence in the record supporting its findings and all reasonable inferences therefrom. Adoption of S.H., 476 Pa. 608, 383 A.2d 529 (1978). We will uphold its decision so long as it is supported ...