Monday, November 11, 2013

In re Pavlinko’s Estate case brief

In re Pavlinko’s Estate case brief summary
148 A.2d 528 (1959)

Appellant brother-in-law sought review of the decision from the Orphans' Court of Allegheny County (Pennsylvania), which affirmed a decision by the register of wills that refused to probate the will of the decedent for failure to comply with the requirements of the Wills Act of 1947.


An attorney drafted wills for the decedent and his late wife and by mistake decedent executed his wife's will and the wife executed the decedent's will. The wife's document was not offered for probate on her death but the brother-in-law offered the will mistakenly executed by the decedent for probate after his death.


  • The register of wills refused to accept the will and the trial court affirmed the decision. 
  • The brother-in-law challenged the decision and the court affirmed. 
  • The document that the deceased signed was actually his late wife's will and the language would have had to have been rewritten in order to be meaningful. 
  • Additionally, section 2 of the Wills Act of 1947 required that every testamentary document had to be signed at the end by the testator. 
  • Thus, the document that was actually the decedent's will could not have been offered for probate because he had not executed it. 
  • The Wills Act was required to be strictly construed in order to effectuate its intent.

The court affirmed the decision that refused to admit to probate a will offered by the brother-in-law that was mistakenly executed by the decedent.

Suggested Study Aids For Wills, Trusts & Estate Law

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