441 Pa. Super. 133
PROCEDURAL POSTURE: Appellant claimant sought review of a decision by the Court of Common Pleas of Northampton County (Pennsylvania) that ordered a constructive trust be imposed and decedent's will be revoked.
OVERVIEW: Appellee, guardian of an estate, filed a petition for an accounting and imposition of a constructive trust on appellant claimant. Appellee sought revocation of decedent's last will and testament on grounds of undue influence. The trial court ordered that a constructive trust be imposed and that decedent's will be revoked. Appellant contended that the trial court erred in finding that decedent's will was an invalid testamentary disposition and subject to revocation.
The court affirmed the judgment, holding that the trial court properly concluded that a confidential relationship existed between decedent and appellant.
The grant of a power of attorney to respondent was in itself sufficient for a finding that a confidential relationship existed. The court also found that appellant was to receive the bulk of decedent's estate. The court found that decedent suffered from a weakened intellect at the time the will was executed. Thus, the trial court did not commit error or abuse its discretion in ruling that decedent's will should be revoked because appellant failed to carry his burden of proving the absence of undue influence.
OUTCOME: The court affirmed the decision that ordered a constructive trust imposed upon appellant claimant and decedent's will revoked. A finding of undue influence was proper where a confidential relationship existed between decedent and appellant, appellant received the bulk of decedent's estate, and decedent suffered from a weakened intellect.
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