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Bernard R. Ralston and Marissa v. Elverta Ralston

October 24, 2012

BERNARD R. RALSTON AND MARISSA RALSTON, HIS WIFE APPELLANTS
v.
ELVERTA RALSTON, DECEASED, WALTER FRANCIS RALSTON, JR., DECEASED AND PATRICIA RALSTON, HAROLD RALSTON, REUBEN RALSTON; JANICE BOYKE; FLORENCE K. LENDER, ROY R. RALSTON, SAMUEL RALSTON, SR., AND THEIR HEIRS, SUCCESSORS, EXECUTORS, ADMINISTRATORS, AND ASSIGNS, AS WELL AS ANY OTHER PERSON, PARTY OR ENTITY APPELLEES



Appeal from the Order Entered October 21, 2011 In the Court of Common Pleas of Clearfield County Civil Division at No(s): 2011-305-CD

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

J-A18020-12

BEFORE: OLSON, J., WECHT, J., and PLATT, J.*fn1

OPINION BY WECHT, J.:

Bernard and Marissa Ralston ["Appellants"] appeal from an October 21, 2011 order that granted the Appellees' motion for summary judgment and denied Appellants' motion for summary judgment. After careful review, we affirm in part and reverse in part.

The trial court summarized the factual history as follows:

Walter Francis Ralston, Sr., and Elverta Ralston, his wife, ["Grantors"] owned a parcel of land in Decatur Township, Clearfield County. By a deed dated June 30, 1984, they conveyed the surface estate to their son, Walter Francis Jr. ["Walter"]. The deed contains this relevant language:

EXCEPTING AND RESERVING unto the Grantors, parties of the First Part, the following:

1. All timber, coal, gas, oil, and all other minerals in and upon the said property together with the right of ingress, egress, and regress, in cutting, digging for, drilling for, or any other appropriate method of removal for said timber, coal, gas, oil or any other minerals, and the carrying away of the same.

2. The right of ingress, egress, and regress to any and all portions of the said property at any time for any and all purposes during their natural lifetime.

3. This property shall not be sold, granted, or conveyed, in whole or in part, to another during the natural lifetime of the GRANTORS.

4. The above exceptions and reservations (item numbers 1, 2, and 3) become null and void upon the death of both of the GRANTORS, at which time the rights set forth in item no. 1 above, become vested in the GRANTEE.

Grantor Walter Francis Ralston Sr. died in 1986. In 1991, the Grantee Walter Francis Ralston Jr. conveyed the land to himself and his wife, Patricia L. Ralston ["Patricia"], one of the [Appellees], as a Tenancy by the Entireties. Walter Francis Ralston, Jr. then died in 1993. By well[-]established property law, this vested whatever rights Walter Jr. and Patricia had in the land in the surviving member of the marriage, Patricia. The last original Grantor, Elverta Ralston, ...


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