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In Re: Estate of Robert D. Hoffman

October 1, 2012

IN RE: ESTATE OF ROBERT D. HOFFMAN, APPELLEE APPEAL OF: TERESA V. HOFFMAN, APPELLANT


Appeal from the Order Entered December 9, 2011 In the Court of Common Pleas of Dauphin County Orphans' Court at No(s): 2209-0161

The opinion of the court was delivered by: Stevens, P.J.

J-A23004-12

BEFORE: STEVENS, P.J., BENDER, J., and GANTMAN, J.

OPINION BY STEVENS, P.J.

This is an appeal from the Order entered in the Court of Common Pleas of Dauphin County, Orphans' Court division, which entered a declaratory judgment in favor of Appellee Cindy Thurman, as Administratrix of the Estate of Robert D. Hoffman, Decedent, and against Appellant Teresa V. Hoffman. We affirm.

The relevant facts and procedural history have been aptly set forth, in part, by the Orphans' Court as follows:

On August 12, 1992, Decedent was issued a life insurance policy by Conseco Life Insurance Company ("Conseco") on which his [then] spouse, Cindy D. Hoffman, a/k/a Cindy Thurman, was named the sole beneficiary. Thereafter, Decedent and [Ms.] Thurman were divorced and, on February 14, 2003, Decedent married [Appellant] Hoffman. On December 21, 2003, Decedent executed an application requesting a change of beneficiary relating to the Conseco life insurance policy, naming [Appellant] Hoffman as a primary beneficiary to receive eighty percent (80%) of any subsequent insurance payout and his daughter, Tara Frances Hoffman, as a primary beneficiary to receive the remaining twenty percent (20%) of the insurance payout.

On August 12, 2008, Decedent and [Appellant] Hoffman were divorced by Decree of the Court of Common Pleas of Cumberland County, which incorporated a Property Settlement

Agreement executed by the parties on July 18, 2008.

Approximately three months later, on November 15, 2008,

Decedent died, [and his former wife, Ms. Thurman, was appointed administratrix of his estate]. On February 24, 2009, Conseco notified [Appellant] Hoffman that it would not make any payments to her because, although she remained a named beneficiary on the [life insurance] policy, she was a "former spouse" of Decedent and, as such, her designation as beneficiary was effectively extinguished by 20 Pa.C.S. § 6111.2.

Orphans' Court Opinion filed 3/26/12 at 2.

On March 5, 2010, Appellant Hoffman filed a petition for declaratory judgment seeking a declaration that she is entitled to an 80% payout from Decedent's life insurance policy, and on March 23, 2010, Ms. Thurman, as administratrix of Decedent's estate, filed an answer requesting 80% of the life insurance proceeds be distributed to Decedent's estate instead of to Appellant Hoffman. Appellant Hoffman filed a reply, and on August 2, 2010, the Orphans' Court denied Appellant Hoffman's petition for declaratory relief. On August 23, 2010, Appellant Hoffman filed exceptions, and on September 1, 2010, Appellant Hoffman filed a notice of appeal to this Court.

Thereafter, the Orphans' Court filed a Pa.R.A.P. 1925(a) opinion requesting that this Court vacate the August 2, 2010 order since Appellant Hoffman's petition for declaratory judgment had been prematurely denied. By per curiam order entered on February 15, 2011, this Court vacated the August 2, ...


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