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Category: Estate Litigation
Whenever a fiduciary files an Orphans’ Court Accounting, whether the filing is by an Agent under a Power of Attorney, a Trustee of a Trust or the Executor of an Estate, a person interested in that accounting has a handicap. The person filing the accounting has all the information; the beneficiary has only what the fiduciary has given them.
Interested persons do have a right to object to an accounting, but if, for example, the beneficiary does not have access to the bank statements, how exactly does the beneficiary know if the charges reflected on the accounting are accurate?
Robinson Estate: Discovery in an Orphans’ Court dispute can be tricky to understand. Read Peter Klenk’s new article dissecting a real, Pennsylvania Orphans’ Court case that ruled on a subtle discovery issue. Reviewing a real case can help you understand rules that otherwise are difficult to follow.
The Philadelphia Archdiocese found itself with serious financial problems. An outside, third-party company offered them a large sum of money to lease out thirteen cemeteries, some of which had unused space. Some of these cemeteries had been under the trust and care of the Archdiocese for over 100 years, and all had previously been exclusively Catholic.
Would entering lucrative maintenance, management and operating agreements with a non-Catholic, third party organization constitute a diversion of property from the purposes, uses and trusts to which these cemeteries had been lawfully dedicated? How do you notify the interested parties in this case? Is the Philadelphia Orphans’ Court even the correct venue for this matter?
Case included in selected Pennsylvania cases involving trusts and decedent’s estates
One of Attorney Glen Ridenour’s estate litigation cases has been selected for publication by the Pennsylvania Fiduciary Reporter. The case, in the Orphans’ Court Division of the Court of Common Pleas of Chester County, deals with the Estate of Robert T. Fawley, Sr., deceased.
Read the full case in PDF or Word format.
I. Standard of Care for Fiduciaries:
A. Prudent Person Standard: The standard of care to which a fiduciary is held in Pennsylvania is that of “common skill, prudence and caution as a prudent man, under similar circumstances, would exercise in the management of his own estate.” In re Estate of Denlinger, 449 Pa. 393, 396, 297 A.2d 478, 480 (1972); In re Musser’s Estate, 341 Pa. 1, 9-10, 17 A2d 411, 415 (1941); In re Estate of Lohm, 440 Pa 268, 269 A.2d 451 (1970); In re Estate of Lerch, 399 Pa. 59, 159 A.2d 506 (1960).
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