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Frazer v. McEntire

Pennsylvania Superior Court

October 20, 2021

The patriarch of a family passed away testate. His son was the administrator of the estate and one of the will’s three beneficiaries. The other two beneficiaries were his sister and the child of a second sister who had previously passed away. After the funeral, the brother/administrator told the other two beneficiaries at the kitchen table that the decedent left $130,000 to be split among all three. The brother/administrator then died before disbursing the estate. The decedent’s sole remaining child became the administrator of the estate and remained a beneficiary. As administrator, she sued her brother’s estate to disburse the $130,000. The problem is that the only evidence that the $130,000 existed was the kitchen table conversation. Thus calling into question the coolest law there is: The Dead Man’s Act, which generally provides that one whose interest is adverse to the interest of a decedent is not a competent witness to any matter which occurred before the decedent’s death. The trial court found that the Dead Man’s Act precluded the witnesses from testifying about the kitchen table conversation and thus granted the defendant’s motion to dismiss because there was no competent evidence to sustain the plaintiff’s case. The Pennsylvania Superior Court affirmed. After a thorough review of the Dead Man’s Act and its exceptions, the Court found that the lower court’s analysis was sound.

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