In re Pavlinko’s Estate
Supreme Court of Pennsylvania
148 A.2d 528 (1959)
Vasil and Hellen Pavlinko, non-native English speakers, hired an attorney who spoke their native language to draft their wills. The attorney drafted complimentary wills in which each spouse left their estate to the surviving spouse and to the same residuary beneficiary, Hellen’s brother, Elias Martin (proponent), upon the death of the surviving spouse. However, when executing the wills, Vasil and Hellen inadvertently signed each other’s wills, which were then witnessed and notarized by their attorney and his secretary, neither of whom noticed the error. Hellen predeceased Vasil in 1951 but her will (bearing Vasil’s signature) was not offered for probate. After Vasil’s death in 1957, Martin offered Hellen’s will, signed by Vasil, for probate as Vasil’s will. The will offered for probate with Vasil’s signature devised the residuary estate to “my husband, Vasil Pavlinko” unless he predeceased in which case the residuary estate was devised to “my brother, Elias Martin.” The Register of Wills denied probate and the Orphan’s Court affirmed the decision to deny probate. Martin appealed to the Supreme Court of Pennsylvania.
Rule of Law
Holding and Reasoning (Bell, J.)
Dissent (Musmanno, J.)
What to do next…
Unlock this case brief with a free (no-commitment) trial membership of Quimbee.
You’ll be in good company: Quimbee is one of the most widely used and trusted sites for law students, serving more than 97,000 law students since 2011. Some law schools—such as Yale, Vanderbilt, Berkeley, and the University of Illinois—even subscribe directly to Quimbee for all their law students. Read our student testimonials.
Learn more about Quimbee’s unique (and proven) approach to achieving great grades at law school.
Quimbee is a company hell-bent on one thing: helping you get an “A” in every course you take in law school, so you can graduate at the top of your class and get a high-paying law job. We’re not just a study aid for law students; we’re the study aid for law students. Read more about Quimbee.
Here's why 170,000 law students have relied on our case briefs:
- Written by law professors and practitioners, not other law students. 13,800 briefs, keyed to 187 casebooks. Top-notch customer support.
- The right amount of information, includes the facts, issues, rule of law, holding and reasoning, and any concurrences and dissents.
- Access in your classes, works on your mobile and tablet. Massive library of related video lessons and high quality multiple-choice questions.
- Easy to use, uniform format for every case brief. Written in plain English, not in legalese. Our briefs summarize and simplify; they don’t just repeat the court’s language.