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COMMONWEALTH PENNSYLVANIA v. JAMES S. BEAN AND EVELYN GELONE (05/09/89)

decided: May 9, 1989.

COMMONWEALTH OF PENNSYLVANIA, DEPARTMENT OF PUBLIC WELFARE, APPELLANT
v.
JAMES S. BEAN AND EVELYN GELONE, APPELLEES



Appeal from the Order of the Court of Common Pleas of Bucks County, in the case of In Re: Estate of Joseph Bean, Jr., Deceased, No. 54992, dated October 7, 1987.

COUNSEL

Andrew A. Coates, Assistant Counsel, for appellant.

Robert G. Moffett, for appellees.

Judges Doyle and Palladino, and Senior Judge Barbieri, sitting as a panel of three. Opinion by Senior Judge Barbieri.

Author: Barbieri

[ 125 Pa. Commw. Page 665]

Appeal is taken by the Department of Public Welfare (DPW) from the order of the Bucks County Court of Common Pleas, Orphans' Court Division (Orphans' Court), denying DPW's objections to the sale of real estate owned by Joseph and Laura G. Bean, Jr.

The order of the Orphans' Court is reversed.

Joseph and Laura owned, as tenants by the entireties, a family residence located on a ten acre tract of land. Laura is presently hospitalized at Norristown State Hospital for mental illness and has been so hospitalized on thirteen previous occasions since 1950. Medical Assistance (MA) benefits have been received for these hospitalizations despite Laura's property interest. DPW

[ 125 Pa. Commw. Page 666]

    deemed the value of the subject real estate unavailable to defray the cost of Laura's care since Joseph lived in the family residence throughout the relevant periods.

In May 1984, Joseph entered a nursing home. The Bean children requested and were granted MA benefits for Joseph. It was subsequently determined that Joseph would not be returning to the family residence. DPW advised the Bean children that the subject property was now deemed to be nonresident property, thereby necessitating its sale so that Joseph and Laura would remain eligible for continued public assistance with the proceeds being applied against the cost of care received by Joseph and Laura.

The Bean children acquired legal counsel to assist them in selling the subject property. Their counsel (Counsel) first executed a power-of-attorney for Joseph, naming his children, James Bean, Evelyn Gelone, and Katie Jackaway, as attorneys-in-fact. A will for Joseph was also executed which purported to leave his personal and real property to his children. Incompetency proceedings to have Laura declared incompetent were then initiated to provide good and marketable title. After a hearing, Laura was adjudicated incompetent and the three Bean children serving as attorneys-in-fact for Joseph were appointed co-guardians of Laura's estate.

On January 10, 1985, three days after Laura was adjudicated incompetent, the Bean children, acting in their capacities as Joseph's attorneys-in-fact and Laura's co-guardians, executed a deed transferring title of the subject property from tenancy by the entireties to tenancy in common with no ...


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