In re Mulholland's Estate

Citation66 A. 150,217 Pa. 65
PartiesIn re MULHOLLAND'S ESTATE. Appeal of DA COSTA.
Decision Date04 February 1907
CourtUnited States State Supreme Court of Pennsylvania
66 A. 150
217 Pa. 65

In re MULHOLLAND'S ESTATE. Appeal of DA COSTA.

Supreme Court of Pennsylvania.

Feb. 4, 1907.


66 A. 150

Appeal from Orphans' Court, Philadelphia County.

In the matter of the estate of Margaret Mulholland. From a decree refusing an issue devisavit vel non, Margaret W. Da Costa appeals. Affirmed.

The register of wills directed a precept for an issue devisavit vel non to the court of common pleas to determine the question of the validity of the will. On appeal to the orphans' court evidence was heard and the court filed an opinion reversing the order of the register of wills, and directed the latter to admit the will and codicil to probate.

Argued before MITCHELL, C. J., and FELL, BROWN. MESTREZAT, POTTER, ELKIN, and STEWART, J.T.

Edward A. Anderson and Edwin S. Ward, for appellant. Wm. H. R. Lukens, for appellee.

MITCHELL, C. J. There is no evidence in this case which would justify any court in allowing a jury to set aside this will. The circumstances under which it was drawn are undisputed. A member of the bar while on a business visit to the testatrix's granddaughter was informed that testatrix with whom he was not personally acquainted desired to see him. He went into the next room and was introduced to testatrix who told him, she wanted to make a will. He requested the granddaughter to leave the room, and then testatrix said she had made a will at the instigation of her daughter, Mrs. Da Casta, of which she did not approve, leaving the total sum and substance of her estate to that daughter, that she desired to equally divide her property, and that she wished the children of her dead daughter to have a share of her estate. The will was then written in accordance with this expressed desire, read carefully to testatrix, and approved by her, witnesses were brought in, and in their presence the will was read again to testatrix, and then executed, no one being present but testatrix, the witnesses, and the attorney. The will bequeathed her gold watch to one of the granddaughters, and the residue of her estate to her children and grandchildren. We thus have affirmative and practically undisputed evidence that testatrix knew the nature of the act she was performing, knew what property she had, what she wanted done with it, and also knew the persons whose relationship to her would make them naturally the objects of her consideration. These are the essential elements of testamentary capacity. On the other side, there is the usual...

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