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Orphan's Court Accounts, Objections and Distributions
Rule 2.1A Sessions of Court
The court will sit in stated session on the first Monday of every month for the presentation for audit of accounts and such other business as may properly come before the court.
Rule 2.4A Additional Receipts and Disbursements
Receipts and disbursements received or made after filing the account and petition for adjudication/statement of proposed distribution may be accounted for in a supplemental account, which shall be signed and verified by the accountant(s) and filed with the clerk, with notice in the same manner as required by Pa. O.C. Rule 2.5(a) - (g) with respect to an account. A copy of the supplemental account shall be presented to the court at the audit.
Rule 2.6A Filing with the Clerk
1. Filing For a Particular Audit
Accounts to appear on a particular audit list must be filed not later than the fifth Wednesday preceding the session of court when that audit list will be called, except when that Wednesday falls on a holiday in which event accounts must be filed not later than the next preceding non-holiday.
2. When Audit List To Be Called The audit list will be called, and accounts thereon will be audited, unless another date therefor be specially fixed, on the first Monday of every month of the year, unless such first Monday falls on a holiday or on a day when circumstances result in an unforeseen or unexpected cessation of courthouse function, in which event said audit list will be called and accounts thereon audited on the next following day not a holiday, or when courthouse functions have resumed in compliance with Bucks County Orphans’ Court Rule 1.9A. Each audit list shall include accounts continued from previous audit lists and new accounts eligible for audit.
At the call of the monthly audit list, counsel for the accountant (or associated counsel authorized and prepared to act as such on behalf of the accountant), as well as counsel for any other party or interested parties who desire to be heard (or accountant or other party or parties, in interest in propria persona if not represented by counsel), shall be personally present in open court and shall note their appearance and such other matters as may be appropriate upon appearance slips to be filed with the court at that time.
Rule 2.7A Objections to Accounts or Petitions for Adjudication/Statements of Proposed Distribution
When objections to an account have been filed, the account of that estate will be presented for audit at the stated meeting of court at which the account is called for audit, but the merits of the objections will not then be heard. A pretrial conference pursuant to Bucks County Orphans’ Court Rule 7.1B will be scheduled, and thereafter a time for a hearing thereon will be fixed by the court.
Rule 2.9A Confirmation of Accounts; Awards
The court in the adjudication, when requested or found advisable, or in any case when real estate is to be awarded in kind, may direct the accountant to file a schedule of distribution in conformity with the awards of the adjudication. Attached to such schedule when filed shall be a certification by the accountant and counsel for the accountant:
a. that the schedule is correct and in accordance with the adjudication;
b. that notice of the filing thereof has been duly given, or that the same is unnecessary by reason of a written approval of the schedule filed therewith by all interested parties affected thereby or by counsel of record.
Notice of the filing of a schedule of distribution shall be given in writing, together with a copy of the schedule, prior to the filing thereof, to all interested parties who may be affected thereby, or their counsel of record, who do not attach or file their written approval with the schedule. Proof of notice shall be filed with the clerk.
Written objections to a schedule of distribution may be filed within 10 days after the filing of the schedule and shall indicate in what respect the schedule is incorrect or fails to conform to the adjudication. The filing of objections shall be accompanied by a form of Order for Hearing and a certificate of service.
4. No Filed Objection
If no objections to the schedule of distribution are filed within 10 days after its filing, the accountant shall file a motion with the court requesting confirmation of the schedule of distribution. Upon issuance of a decree of confirmation from the court, the accountant shall have authority to make any necessary assignments, and transfers of securities or other assets awarded in kind, and the schedule of distribution shall be deemed and considered as attached to and constituting a part of the adjudication.
Rule 2.10A Foreign Heirs and Unknown Distributees
The report contemplated by Pennsylvania Orphans’ Court Rule 2.10(b) shall be submitted as an exhibit to the petition for adjudication and shall include substantially the following:
If it appears that the identity or whereabouts of a distributee is unknown, or there are no known heirs, the fiduciary shall submit a written report as an exhibit to the petition for adjudication, verified by the fiduciary or their counsel, which shall set forth:
a. the nature of the investigation made to locate the heirs of the decedent, in complete detail; and
b. in cases of intestacy, or where there are no known heirs, a family tree, as complete as possible under the circumstances supported by such documentary evidence as the fiduciary has been able to obtain.
The term “investigation” as used in this Rule shall include an inquiry of or to as many of the following as may be pertinent and feasible: residents of the household in which the decedent resided; friends and neighbors; labor union membership; places of employment; social, fraternal or beneficial organizations; insurance records; religious membership; school records; Social Security, Veterans’ Administration, or military service records; naturalization records, if not native born; and such other sources of information as the circumstances may suggest.
2. Foreign Distributee
If the fiduciary requests the court to withhold distribution to a foreign distributee, they shall submit as an exhibit to the petition for adjudication a written report, verified by the fiduciary or their counsel, in which shall be set forth:
a. the relationship of the distributee to the decedent, and any available information concerning their present whereabouts;
b. in cases of intestacy, a family tree, as complete as possible under the circumstances, supported by such documentary evidence as the fiduciary has been able to obtain; and
c. the reasons for the request that distribution be withheld, and the suggested manner of withholding.
3. Foreign Distributee. Notice to Attorney General
When at the audit of an account or other proceeding in any estate in this court, it appears that any distributee is not a resident of the United States and that distribution to them might or should be withheld, notice of all of the facts and circumstances shall be given to the Attorney General who will be requested to participate in the proceedings as amicus curiae.
Rule 2.11A Appointment of Official Examiners
Whenever an examination of assets is ordered in connection with an accounting, the order of appointment shall be included in the adjudication of the account, and the examiner shall make his examination after the schedule of distribution shall have been filed and approved, so that the assets distributable by fiduciaries, which are the assets to be examined, will have been determined.
Reports and Fees
Reports of examiners shall be filed with the clerk. The examiner’s fee shall be fixed and awarded by the court when acting on the report, usually payable out of the assets examined, unless circumstances warrant otherwise.