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ELIZABETH BLOOM v. STANLEY SELFON (03/03/89)

decided: March 3, 1989.

ELIZABETH BLOOM, JOHN O. SOWASH, AND MARY M. BANKS, APPELLANTS,
v.
STANLEY SELFON, INDIVIDUALLY AND AS EXECUTOR OF THE LAST WILL AND TESTAMENT OF KATHRYN B. ORSTEIN, DECEASED, APPELLEE



Appeal from the Order of the Superior Court of Pennsylvania, dated September 9, 1987, and entered to No. 592 Harrisburg, 1986. Nix, C.j., and Larsen, Flaherty, McDermott, Zappala, Papadakos and Stout, JJ. Larsen, J., concurs in the result only.

Author: Flaherty

[ 520 Pa. Page 520]

OPINION OF THE COURT

This is an appeal from an order of the Superior Court which affirmed an order of the Court of Common Pleas of Cumberland County approving a scheme of distribution under the last will and testament of Kathryn B. Orstein. The issue presented is whether the courts below properly determined that, under the terms of the will, decedent's estate passed to an uncle of decedent's ex-husband. The pertinent facts are as follows.

Kathryn B. Orstein married W. Lee Orstein in 1966, and, in 1978, she executed a will containing the following provisions:

I -- I direct the payment of all my just debts and funeral expenses out of my estate as soon as may be practical after my death.

[ 520 Pa. Page 521]

II -- I devise and bequeath all of my estate of whatever nature and wherever situate unto my husband, W. Lee Orstein.

III -- Should my said husband predecease me, then I devise and bequeath all of my estate of every nature and wheresoever situate unto my issue per stirpes.

IV -- If my said husband predeceases me and we have no issue, then all of my estate shall be distributed to my husband's uncle, Stanley Selfon.

V -- I appoint my husband, W. Lee Orstein, Executor of this, my Last Will and Testament. Should my said husband fail to qualify or cease to act as such, then I appoint the said Stanley Selfon to act in this capacity. Neither of my personal representatives shall be required to post bond in this or any jurisdiction.

The Orsteins became divorced in 1981, but the foregoing will was never revised. In 1984, Kathryn B. Orstein died without issue. She was survived by W. Lee Orstein and Stanley Selfon.

Inasmuch as decedent became divorced after her will was executed, provisions in paragraphs II and V of the will pertaining to W. Lee Orstein were rendered inoperative through 20 Pa.C.S. ยง 2507(2), which provides:

(2) Divorce. If the testator is divorced from the bonds of matrimony after making a will, all provisions in the will in favor of or relating to his spouse so divorced shall ...


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