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In re Rodgers’ Estate
Pennsylvania Supreme Court
374 Pa. 246, 97 A.2d 789 (1953)
When she died, Elizabeth Rodgers had over $34,000 in an accounted titled “Elizabeth M. Rodgers in trust for sister Martha B. Rodgers.” The sisters lived together sharing all expenses and had reciprocal wills and savings accounts in trust for each other. When Martha could no longer handle her own affairs, Elizabeth prepared a new will, explaining that Martha would need someone to look after her if she outlived Elizabeth. Elizabeth’s attorney suggested an elaborate testamentary maintenance-and-support trust. Elizabeth described her assets as some stocks and a jointly owned residence and said her money was on deposit at the Beneficial Saving Fund Society, where Elizabeth’s only money on deposit was in the trust account for Martha. Elizabeth’s other assets totaled less than $5,000. After Elizabeth died, her attorney petitioned for the $34,000 to be distributed to her estate instead of directly to Martha and testified about their conversations. The court concluded Elizabeth revoked the tentative trust at the bank and meant the money to go into her estate, then to the testamentary trust. Martha’s guardian appealed, arguing Elizabeth meant the money to go directly to Martha.
Rule of Law
Holding and Reasoning (Stearne, J.)
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