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THE COURTS

Title 231—RULES OF
CIVIL PROCEDURE

PART II. ORPHANS' COURT RULES

[ 231 PA. CODE PART II ]

Proposed New Pa.O.C. Rules 1.1—11.6 and Explanatory Notes

[43 Pa.B. 2010]
[Saturday, April 13, 2013]

 The Orphans' Court Procedural Rules Committee intends to recommend that the Supreme Court of Pennsylvania vacate Orphans' Court Rules 1.1 through 14.5 and adopt new Orphans' Court Rules governing the practice and procedures for the areas currently covered by these rules. The new rules are divided into sections addressing, inter alia, the filing and audit of Accounts, procedures for Orphans' Court matters raised by citation and petition, pre-hearing and post-hearing dispositions, and rules for practice before the Registers of Wills. In some cases, the current Orphans' Court rule has not been modified substantially, but is merely being relocated to a new section based upon the revised structure of the proposed new rules (e.g., Rules governing Specific Types of Petitions are moved from Rule 12 to Chapter IV and Rules governing Guardianships are moved from Rule 14 to Chapter V). The proposal also contains Explanatory Comments, which accompany certain rules to elucidate upon the addition or modification of certain provisions or to provide additional analysis of the relationship between the particular rule and another Orphans' Court rule and/or statutory provisions in the Probate, Estates and Fiduciaries Code.

 This proposal has not been submitted to the Supreme Court of Pennsylvania for review in advance of this publication. The proposal, though, has been reviewed by an advisory group of Orphans' Court judges appointed by then-Chief Justice Ralph J. Cappy, and these judges have provided insights, comments, and suggestions incorporated into the proposal that is being published.

 The Explanatory Report following this Publication Notice highlights the Committee's goals and considerations in revising the current version of Orphans' Court Rules and formulating this proposal. Please note that the Committee's Explanatory Report should not be confused with the official Explanatory Comments that accompany certain rules. Also be aware that the Supreme Court does not adopt the Committee's Explanatory Comments or the contents of the Explanatory Report.

 Because the proposal vacates in its entirety the current Orphans' Court Rules 1.1 through 14.5 and replaces the vacated rules with proposed new and/or renumbered Orphans' Court Rules, this proposal does not contain bolded and underlined text to show additions; nor does it contain brackets to indicate deletions.

 This proposal is a substantial overhaul of the current Orphans' Court Rules which have remained relatively intact for nearly four decades. As a result, the Committee encourages and welcomes input from attorneys and judges concerning this proposal, including comments that may address only a specific rule or series of rules. We request only that interested persons submit suggestions, comments, and/or objections in writing to the Committee through counsel, no later than June 13, 2013, at the following address:

Lisa M. Rhode, Counsel
Supreme Court of Pennsylvania
Orphans' Court Procedural Rules Committee
601 Commonwealth Avenue, Suite 6200
Harrisburg, PA 17106-2635
fax: (717) 231-9551
e-mail: orphanscourtproceduralrules@pacourts.us

By the Orphans' Court
Procedural Rules Committee

MARGARET GALLAGHER THOMPSON, Esq., 
Chair

Annex A

TITLE 231. RULES OF CIVIL PROCEDURE

PART II. ORPHANS' COURT RULES

 (Editor's Note: As part of this proposed recommendation, the Committee is proposing to delete the text of Rules 1—14 which appear in 231 Pa. Code pages 1-1—14-2, serial pages (363255), (363256), (307573), (307575)—(307579), (236781), (323245)—(323249), (326689)—(326691), (323253)—(323255), (272413)—(272415), (236797)—(236799), (323257), (276615), (276617)—(276625), (323259) and (323260), and replace them with the following rules, which are printed in regular type to enhance readability.)

I. PRELIMINARY RULES

Rule

1.1.Short Title and Citation.
1.2.Construction and Applications of Rules.
1.3.Definitions.
1.4.Waiver of Time Limitations.
1.5.Local Rules.
1.6.Mediation by Local or Special Order.
1.7.Entry and Withdrawal of Counsel.
1.8.Forms.

Rule 1.1. Short Title and Citation.

 These Rules shall be known as the Pennsylvania Orphans' Court Rules, and shall be referred to individually herein as ''Rule'' and cited as ''Pa.O.C. Rule ______ .''

Official Note: Rule 1.1 is substantively similar to former Rule 17.

Rule 1.2. Construction and Applications of Rules.

 (a) The Rules adopted by the Supreme Court regulating the practice and procedure of the Orphans' Court Divisions of this Commonwealth, and the Local Rules adopted by such Courts, shall be liberally construed to secure the just, timely and efficient determination of every action or proceeding to which they are applicable. The Court at every stage of any action or proceeding may disregard any error or defect of procedure that does not affect the substantive rights of the parties in interest.

 (b) The principles of interpretation and related matters set forth in Pa.R.C.P. 101 through 153 inclusive, with the exception of Pa.R.C.P. 126 and 133, shall apply to these Rules.

 (c) Throughout these Rules, the singular shall include the plural.

Official Note: Rule 1.2(a) is identical to former Rule 2.1. Rule 1.2(b) is new. Rule 1.2(c) has no counterpart in former Orphans' Court Rules, but is derived from Pa.R.C.P. 102.

Explanatory Comment

 The Orphans' Court Division exercises equitable powers and applies equitable principles.

 The question frequently arises as to the effect and use of the notes and explanatory comments which are issued with the Orphans' Court Rules. Notes and explanatory comments are not part of the Rules but they may be used in construing the Rules. The Supreme Court of Pennsylvania has stated in Laudenberger v. Port Authority of Allegheny County, 496 Pa. 52, 59, 436 A.2d 147, 151 (1981):

These explanatory notes have not been officially adopted or promulgated by this Court, nor do they constitute part of the rule. However, they indicate the spirit and motivation behind the drafting of the rule, and they serve as guidelines for understanding the purposes for which the rule was drafted.

Rule 1.3. Definitions.

 The following words and phrases when used in these Rules shall have the following meanings, respectively, unless the context clearly indicates otherwise or the particular word or phrase is expressly defined in the Chapter in which the particular Rule is included:

 ''Accountant''—a Fiduciary or other party who has filed an Account;

 ''Account''—a financial report by a Fiduciary of the principal and income transactions in the form prescribed by Rule 2.1;

 ''Adult''—an individual eighteen years of age or over;

 ''Clerk''—the Clerk of the Orphans' Court Division or its equivalent;

 ''Commonwealth''—the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania;

 ''Court''—the Orphans' Court Division of the Court of Common Pleas or any judge thereof having jurisdiction;

 ''Electronic Filing''—the electronic transmission via the Internet of Legal Papers to the Clerk;

 ''Facsimile copy''—a copy of a document transmitted and received by facsimile equipment;

 ''Fiduciary''—an executor, administrator, Guardian, trustee or agent, and any other person acting in any similar capacity, whether domiciliary or ancillary, individual or corporate, subject to the jurisdiction of the Court;

 ''Filing Party''—a party, or an attorney acting on behalf of a party, who files a Legal Paper;

 ''Guardian''—a Fiduciary who is appointed by the Court to provide for the care and management of the estate, the person, or both, of an individual or class of individuals under a legal disability;

 ''Guardian or Trustee ad litem''—a Fiduciary who is appointed by a court to represent an individual or class of individuals under a legal disability in legal proceedings;

 ''Incapacitated Person''—a person who has been adjudicated incapacitated pursuant to 20 Pa.C.S. § 5501 et seq.;

 ''Interested Party,'' or ''Interested Parties''—one or more individuals or entities having or claiming an interest in the estate, trust, person or other entity that is the subject of the legal proceeding;

 ''Legal Papers''—any document that is filed in connection with an action or proceeding pending before the Court;

 ''Local Rule''—every Rule promulgated in accordance with Rule 1.5;

 ''Majority''—when used in reference to age, means of the age of eighteen years or over;

 ''Minor''—an individual under the age of eighteen years;

 ''Objector''—an individual or entity filing objections to an Account pursuant to Rule 2.7;

 ''Personal Representative''—the executor or administrator of any description of a decedent's estate;

 ''Petition for Adjudication/Statement of Proposed Distribution''—a uniform, statewide form promulgated by the Supreme Court used in conjunction with the filing of an Account (see Appendix of forms);

 ''Pleading''—a type of Legal Paper that must be signed and Verified in accordance with Rules 3.13 and 3.14 and includes, but is not limited to, petitions, answers, replies, preliminary objections and motions;

 ''Publication''—the publication in a newspaper of general circulation where such newspaper is originally issued and circulated;

 ''Register of Wills'' or ''Register''—the Register of Wills or its equivalent having jurisdiction or authority to probate wills and grant letters as provided in 20 Pa.C.S. § 901;

 ''Supreme Court''—the Supreme Court of the Commonwealth;

 ''Verified''—when used in reference to a written statement of fact by the signer, means supported by oath or affirmation or made subject to the penalties of 18 Pa.C.S. § 4904 relating to unsworn falsification to authorities.

Official Note: This definitional section is new, but some of the definitions are substantively identical to the definitions in former Rule 2.3 and other definitions are taken from and are substantially similar to Pa.R.C.P. 76.

Rule 1.4. Waiver of Time Limitations.

 The Court, upon its own motion or the motion of any party, may extend or shorten any time period prescribed by these Rules.

Official Note: Rule 1.4 is substantively similar to former Rule 2.2, except that former Rule 2.2 only expressly permitted the Court to extend time limits, not shorten the time period as now provided.

Rule 1.5. Local Rules.

 (a) All previously promulgated Local Rules are hereby vacated, effective ______ .

 (b) The Orphans' Court Divisions of the several judicial districts of this Commonwealth may adopt Local Rules regulating practice and procedure. Such Local Rules shall not be inconsistent with these Rules.

 (c) The local rules applicable to practice in the Civil or Trial Division of the local Court of Common Pleas shall not be applicable in the Orphans' Court Division unless these Rules or the local Orphans' Court Division so directs by Local Rule adopted in accordance with this Rule.

 (d) Local Rules shall be numbered to correspond to the numbers of these Rules.

 (e) All proposed Local Rules and proposed amendments to Local Rules shall be submitted in writing to the Supreme Court Orphans' Court Procedural Rules Committee (''Committee'') for review in advance of promulgation. The submitting Court shall not adopt the proposed Local Rule or proposed amendment to the Local Rule until the submitting Court receives written notification from the Committee that the proposed Local Rule or the proposed amendment to the Local Rule is not inconsistent with these Rules.

 (f) After written notification is received from the Committee, the submitting Court shall fully comply with all the following requirements:

 (1) The Local Rule shall be in writing;

 (2) Seven certified copies of the Local Rule shall be filed by the Court promulgating the Local Rule with the Administrative Office of Pennsylvania Courts;

 (3) Two certified copies of the Local Rule shall be distributed by the Court promulgating the Local Rule to the Legislative Reference Bureau for publication in the Pennsylvania Bulletin; and

 (4) The Local Rules shall be kept continuously available in the office of the Clerk for public inspection and copying by any person, upon request and the payment of reasonable costs for reproduction.

 (g) A Local Rule shall become effective not less than thirty days after the date of publication of the Local Rule in the Pennsylvania Bulletin.

 (h) No case shall be dismissed nor request for relief granted or denied because of the failure to comply with a Local Rule. In any case of noncompliance with a Local Rule, the Court shall advise the party of the specific provision at issue and provide a reasonable time for the party to comply with the Local Rule.

 (i) The Committee may at any time recommend that the Supreme Court suspend, vacate, or require amendment of a Local Rule and may suspend that Local Rule pending action by the Supreme Court on that recommendation.

Official Note: Rule 1.5 is new, but it based upon former Rule 1.2, and has been augmented and modified based upon Pa.R.Crim.P 105.

Explanatory Comment

 After the Court has alerted the party to the Local Rule pursuant to subparagraph (h), the Court may impose a sanction for subsequent noncompliance either on the individual party or counsel who has entered a written appearance on behalf of a party, but may not dismiss the petition, or grant or deny relief because of non-compliance with the Local Rule. Cf. Pa.R.Crim.P. 105 Comment.

Rule 1.6. Mediation by Local Rule or Special Order.

 The Court, by Local Rule or special order, may direct the parties to participate in private or court-sponsored mediation.

Official Note: Rule 1.6 has no counterpart in former Orphans' Court Rules.

Explanatory Comment

 The confidentiality of mediation is provided by statute, see 42 Pa.C.S. § 5949.

Rule 1.7. Entry and Withdrawal of Counsel.

 (a) Appearance. Any counsel appearing before the Court or the Register shall enter a written appearance by filing a praecipe with the Clerk or the Register, by entering counsel's information and signing a cover sheet when Legal Papers are filed, if so provided by Local Rule, or by submitting to the Court or Register an appearance slip as prescribed by Local Rule.

 (b) Withdrawal. Counsel who has entered an appearance as provided in subparagraph (a) shall not be permitted to withdraw without filing a motion to withdraw and obtaining the Court's leave, unless co-counsel, if any, will remain in representation of the party or there is a simultaneous entry of appearance by other counsel that will not delay the litigation.

Official Note: Rule 1.7 has no counterpart in former Orphans' Court Rules, but is based upon many Local Rules of similar import.

Rule 1.8. Forms.

 (a) Forms adopted by the Supreme Court for practice and procedure before the Registers of Wills and Orphans' Court Divisions of the Commonwealth shall be used exclusively by all Registers and Clerks. Where Supreme Court adopted forms exist, no other forms shall be allowed or required by Local Rule or practice.

 (b) The forms adopted by the Supreme Court for statewide practice are set forth in an Appendix to these Rules. The forms may be revised and supplemented from time to time. The forms shall also be maintained for public access at the official website of the Administrative Office of the Pennsylvania Courts.

 (c) A Court may require Legal Papers to be accompanied by a cover sheet or checklist in the form set forth in the Local Rule. A Court that imposes such requirements must promulgate a Local Rule, numbered Local Rule 1.8(c), stating the requirements and setting forth the form of the cover sheet or checklist.

Official Note: Rule 1.8 is substantively similar to former Rule 1.3, but with some modifications.

Explanatory Comment

 Rule 1.8 has been modified from former Rule 1.3 by now mandating the exclusive use of forms promulgated by the Supreme Court. Previously, forms approved or mandated for use pursuant to Local Rule could be accepted by the local Register of Wills and Clerk so long as the local Register of Wills and Clerk also permitted and accepted forms promulgated by the Supreme Court. Now, if the Supreme Court has promulgated or approved a form for use before the Register or Clerk, then such form is the only one that may be used by the applicant or petitioner and accepted by the local Register of Wills or Clerk. The mandatory state-wide forms are set forth in the Appendix hereto. The current website for electronic access to the forms is found at www.pacourts.us/forms under the For-the-Public category. The forms posted on the website are capable of on-line completion.

II. ACCOUNTS, OBJECTIONS AND DISTRIBUTIONS

Rule

2.1.Form of Account.
2.2.Form; Assets Transfer by the Exercise of a Power of Appointment.
2.3.Form; Separate Accounts for Minors.
2.4.Petition for Adjudication/Statement of Proposed Distribution; Virtual Representation.
2.5.Audit Notice.
2.6.Filing with the Clerk.
2.7.Objections to Accounts, Petitions for Adjudication/Statements of Proposed Distribution.
2.8.Responsive Pleadings Allowed After Objections are Filed.
2.9.Confirmation of Accounts; Awards.
2.10.Foreign Heirs and Unknown Distributees.
2.11.Appointment of Official Examiners.

Rule 2.1. Form of Account.

 (a) Except where otherwise provided by a special order of the Court in a particular matter, Accounts shall be prepared and filed with the Clerk in conformity with the form of the Model Accounts set forth in the Appendix, or any other form adopted by the Supreme Court subsequent to the date of adoption of these Rules.

 (b) As illustrated in the Model Accounts, Accounts shall conform to the following rules:

 (1) The dates of all receipts, disbursements and distributions, the sources of the receipts, and the persons to whom disbursements and distributions are made and the purpose thereof shall be stated. When a number of payments have been received from the same source or disbursed or distributed to the same recipient for the same purpose over a period of time, such receipts, disbursements or distributions need not be itemized, but may be stated in total amounts only, with beginning and ending dates within the period covered.

 (2) Except where otherwise provided by a special order of the Court in a particular matter, principal and income shall be accounted for separately within the Account.

 (3) Assets held by the Accountant on the closing date of the Account shall be separately itemized.

 (4) Every Account shall contain:

 (i) a cover page;

 (ii) a summary page with page references;

 (iii) separate schedules, as needed, which set forth receipts, gains or losses on sales or other dispositions, disbursements, distributions, investments made, changes in holdings, and other schedules as appropriate; and

 (iv) signature and verification pages by the Accountant. The verification of a Personal Representative's Account shall contain a statement that the Grant of Letters and the first complete advertisement thereof occurred more than four months before the filing of the Account, unless the Personal Representative has been directed by the Court to file an Account prior to that time.

 (c) The Uniform Fiduciary Accounting Principles with accompanying commentaries and illustrations, recommended by the Committee on National Fiduciary Accounting Standards in collaboration with the National Center for State Courts, shall serve as an elaboration of the requirements of this Rule.

 (d) When a non-profit corporation incorporated for charitable purposes or a cemetery company is required to file an Account, the corporation or company may file its financial statements for its three most recent fiscal years, Verified to be true and correct, in lieu of an Account in the form required by this Rule.

 (1) Upon application or its own motion, the Court may require the corporation or company to submit the financial information in some other form or for some longer period.

 (2) Upon application or its own motion, the Court may require more or less financial information as it deems appropriate, including some or all of the following:

 (i) the statute or other authority under which the corporation or company was incorporated and the date of its incorporation;

 (ii) the names and addresses of the trustees or directors of the corporation or company;

 (iii) a concise statement of the general purpose of the corporation or company; and

 (iv) a copy of the corporation's or company's charter or articles of incorporation and bylaws.

Official Note: Rule 2.1 is substantively similar to former Rule 6.1 and Rule 12.15, except that certain subparagraphs have been reordered and Rule 12.15 and its Official Note have become subparagraph (d).

Explanatory Comment

 Piggy-backed Accounts and limited Accounts are permitted pursuant to 20 Pa.C.S. §§ 762, 3501.2, and 7791.1.

Rule 2.2. Form; Assets Transfer by the Exercise of a Power of Appointment.

 Appointive assets shall be accounted for separately, and testamentary assets shall be segregated from appointive assets.

Official Note: Rule 2.2 is substantively similar to subparagraph (d) of former Rule 6.1.

Rule 2.3. Form; Separate Accounts for Minors.

 A separate Account shall be filed for the estate of each Minor, unless the Court upon cause shown directs otherwise.

Official Note: Rule 2.3 is identical to former Rule 6.2.

Rule 2.4. Petition for Adjudication/Statement of Proposed Distribution; Virtual Representation.

 (a) A Petition for Adjudication/Statement of Proposed Distribution shall be filed with the Clerk at the time of filing an Account.

 (b) In addition to other information required by the form, the Petition for Adjudication/Statement of Proposed Distribution shall set forth the name of each Interested Party (whether sui juris or not) who is not receiving notice of the filing of the Account and the Petition for Adjudication/Statement of Proposed Distribution because another individual or entity is proposed to represent such Interested Party pursuant to 20 Pa.C.S. § 751(6) or §§ 7721—7726, and shall set forth additional facts as to the following:

 (1) a statement of the Interested Party's interest in the property; and

 (2) for representation being proposed pursuant to 20 Pa.C.S. § 751(6),

 (i) a statement that the Interested Party is not sui juris or is unborn, unknown or unascertained; and

 (ii) one of the following:

 (A) a statement that the proposed representative has an interest in the property similar to that of the Interested Party who is not sui juris or is unborn, unknown or unascertained; or

 (B) a statement that the proposed representative is the sui juris living ancestor of the Interested Party who is not sui juris or is unborn, unknown or unascertained and that such living sui juris ancestor has an interest in the property that is not adverse to that of the Interested Party who is not sui juris or is unborn, unknown or unascertained; and

 (3) for representation in trust matters being proposed pursuant to 20 Pa.C.S. §§ 7721—7726,

 (i) an explanation about how the Interested Party's interest in the property can be adequately represented by the proposed representative pursuant to 20 Pa.C.S. § 7723,

 (ii) a statement that with respect to the matter at issue there is no conflict of interest between the proposed representative and the Interested Party to be represented that will or might affect the impartiality of the proposed representative (except as provided pursuant to 20 Pa.C.S. § 7723(7)); and

 (iii) one of the following:

 (A) either a statement that the proposed representative has been informed of the right to decline such representation pursuant to 20 Pa.C.S. § 7725 within the time period set forth therein and has failed to inform the trustee in writing that he or she declines to be the proposed representative; or

 (B) a statement that the consent to serve signed by the proposed representative is attached as an exhibit to the Petition for Adjudication/Statement of Proposed Distribution.

 (c) The Petition for Adjudication/Statement of Proposed Distribution shall be accompanied by such Legal Papers as are required by the form.

 (d) The Accountant shall sign and Verify the Petition for Adjudication/Statement of Proposed Distribution in accordance with Rules 3.13 and 3.14.

 (e) Counsel for the Accountant shall sign the Petition for Adjudication/Statement of Proposed Distribution in accordance with and pursuant to Rule 3.13.

Official Note: Although substantially modified, Rule 2.4 is derived from former Rule 6.9. One modification is to require averments for virtual representation under 20 Pa.C.S. § 751(6) generally and representation in ''trust matters'' pursuant to 20 Pa.C.S. § 7721 et seq. Another substantial modification is the addition of subparagraph (e) that requires counsel to sign the Petition for Adjudication/Statement of Distribution attesting that the submitted Petition for Adjudication/Statement of Distribution accurately replicates the Model Form and subjects counsel to rules and sanctions as provided in Pa.R.C.P. 1023.1 through Pa.R.C.P. 1023.4. (See Rule 3.13.)

Explanatory Comment

 The Supreme Court has adopted form petitions for adjudication of a decedent's estate, trust, Guardian of an Incapacitated Person's estate, Guardian of a Minor's estate, and the estate of a principal stated by an agent under a power of attorney. These form petitions for adjudication are the exclusive forms for adjudicating an Account, and consequently, the local Court and Clerk must accept these state-wide forms and may not permit or allow any other forms previously permitted under Local Rules. The exclusive state-wide form Petitions for Adjudication/ Statement of Proposed Distribution appear in the Appendix and are available electronically at www.pacourts.us/forms under the For-the-Public category.

 Cover sheets or checklists may be required by Local Rule as permitted by Pa. O.C. Rule 1.8(c).

Rule 2.5. Audit Notice.

 (a) No Account shall be confirmed unless the Accountant has given written notice of the filing of the Account as provided in subparagraph (d) to the following, as applicable:

 (1) every unpaid claimant who has given written notice of his or her claim to the Accountant or who has performed any action that is the equivalent of giving written notice as provided in 20 Pa.C.S. §§ 3384 or 7755;

 (2) any other individual or entity with an asserted claim known to the Accountant, that is not shown in either the Account or the Petition for Adjudication/Statement of Proposed Distribution as being either paid in full or to be paid in full; and

 (3) any other individual or entity known to the Accountant to have or claim an interest in the estate or trust as a beneficiary, heir, or next of kin, except for those legatees or claimants whose legacies or claims have been satisfied in full as reflected in the Account or will be satisfied in full as proposed in the Petition for Adjudication/Statement of Proposed Distribution.

 (b) Notice to an individual or entity shall be given in accordance with Rule 3.18; provided, however, that if the individual or entity is represented by counsel who has entered his or her appearance in accordance with Rule 1.7, notice shall be given to counsel and the individual or entity.

 (c) If notice is required to be given to a Personal Representative or trustee, such notice shall also be given to the beneficiaries of the estate or trust, to the extent known.

 (d) Written notice, as provided in subparagraph (a) above, shall be mailed at least 20 days prior to the audit or the date by which objections must be filed to the Account, whichever is later, and shall state the date of the audit, and the time and place of the audit to the extent then known. If the time and place of the audit is not known at the time the audit notice is mailed, the audit notice shall state that the time and place of the audit will be provided upon request. A copy of the Account, Petition for Adjudication/Statement of Proposed Distribution, and any Legal Papers filed therewith shall be sent with the audit notice, unless the recipient of the audit notice is a trust beneficiary who is not a ''qualified beneficiary'' as defined in 20 Pa.C.S. § 7703, or unless the Court, by special order, directs otherwise.

 (e) If the audit of an Account is continued, additional notice shall be mailed to those who received written notice of the filing of the Account at least 20 days prior to the date of the continued audit. The additional audit notice shall state the date of the continued audit, and the time and place of the continued audit to the extent then known. If the time and place of the continued audit is not known at the time the additional audit notice is mailed, the additional audit notice shall state that the time and place of the continued audit will be provided upon request.

 (f) All audit notices and additional audit notices shall be sent by first-class United States mail, postage prepaid.

 (g) A certificate of service and a copy of the audit notice shall be appended to the Petition for Adjudication/Statement of Proposed Distribution or filed with the Clerk prior to the audit or continued audit date.

 (h) The audit notice shall contain the information provided in subparagraphs (1), (2), and (3), as applicable, and, in all cases, shall contain a statement as provided in subparagraph (4):

 (1) the Accountant's position on any dispute or interpretation question, known to the Accountant, together with a copy of any instrument or material parts thereof containing any provision which forms the basis of the dispute or question;

 (2) the Accountant's understanding of the nature of each contested or unpaid claim, a detailed explanation that specifically identifies the claim, whether the claim is admitted or contested, and if admitted, why the claim is not being paid in full;

 (3) if the Account and Petition for Adjudication/Statement of Proposed Distribution is not sent with the audit notice pursuant to subparagraph (d) above, the audit notice shall state the amount of all compensation paid or payable to the Accountant, all attorneys' fees paid or payable, and that copies of the Account and Petition for Adjudication/Statement of Proposed Distribution are available upon request; and

 (4) that any recipient of the audit notice who objects to any transaction shown in the Account, any interpretation or position taken by the Accountant, or to any payment, failure to pay, distribution proposed, or any other aspect of the Petition for Adjudication/Statement of Proposed Distribution must file written objections on or before the audit date, with the Clerk, in accordance with Rule 2.7, or if there is no such objection, then no action need be taken and such recipient is deemed to have approved the Account, as stated, and agreed with the Accountant's position on any dispute or question as set forth in the Petition for Adjudication/Statement of Proposed Distribution, if any, and the Accountant's proposed disbursements and distribution.

 (i) For an Account with a charitable interest, refer to Rule 7.1.

Official Note: Although substantially modified, Rule 2.5 is derived from former Rule 6.3.

Explanatory Comment

 Pursuant to the cross-references to 20 Pa.C.S. §§ 3384 and 7755, notice of the claim given to Accountant's counsel of record is notice to the Accountant. See 20 Pa.C.S. § 3384(b)(4). If the Court is inclined not to agree with Accountant's position, interpretation or proposed disbursements and distribution, best practice would be for the Court to direct the Accountant to notify the Interested Parties of the Court's position and what additional action must be taken by any Interested Party who objects to the Court's position.

Rule 2.6. Filing with the Clerk.

 All Accounts shall be filed with the Clerk.

Official Note: Rule 2.6 is derived from what was formerly Rule 6.6. Former Rule 6.4 regarding the time for filing the first Account of the Personal Representative has been deleted as it is codified in 20 Pa.C.S. § 3501.1.

Rule 2.7. Objections to Accounts, Petitions for Adjudication/Statements of Proposed Distribution.

 (a) Objections to an Account, objections to a Petition for Adjudication/Statement of Proposed Distribution, or objections to an audit notice shall be filed with the Clerk on or before the time and date of the audit, with a copy sent by first-class United States mail, postage prepaid, to the Accountant or the Accountant's counsel, if represented, and to each Interested Party and claimant who received the audit notice, to the extent known.

 (b) Objections shall be in writing, with consecutively numbered paragraphs, signed by counsel, or if not represented by counsel, then by all the Objectors in accordance with Rule 3.13, and Verified by at least one of the Objectors in accordance with Rule 3.14.

 (c) Each objection shall:

 (1) be specific as to description and amount;

 (2) raise one issue of law or fact, but if there are several objections relating to the same issue, all such objections shall be included in the same paragraph as subparts; and

 (3) briefly set forth the reason or reasons in support thereof.

 (d) Upon application or its own motion, the Court may extend the time for filing objections.

Official Note: Although substantially modified, Rule 2.7 is derived from former Rule 6.10.

Explanatory Comment

 If the audit notice received by the Objector has a service list appended to it setting forth the name and address of each Interested Party who received the audit notice, the Objectors should mail the objections to every name and address appearing on the service list.

Rule 2.8. Responsive Pleadings Allowed After Objections are Filed.

 (a) Answers to objections, preliminary objections to objections, and answers to preliminary objections are permitted, but a party does not waive any rights by failing to file an answer to objections, preliminary objections to objections, or an answer to preliminary objections.

 (b) Answers to objections and preliminary objections to objections must be filed with the Clerk within 20 days after objections are served upon the Accountant or his or her counsel, pursuant to Rule 2.7(a), or the date of the audit, whichever is later. A copy of the answers to objections or preliminary objections to objections shall be provided to the Objector or his or her counsel, if represented, and to each Interested Party and claimant who received the audit notice pursuant to Rule 2.5.

 (c) Preliminary objections to objections shall be limited to lack of jurisdiction over the subject matter and lack of standing.

 (d) If an answer to objections is filed, no responsive Pleading to the answer is permitted. If preliminary objections are filed, answers to the preliminary objections may be filed within 20 days after the date when the preliminary objections are served upon the Objector or his or her counsel, if represented.

 (e) The Court may summarily decide preliminary objections to objections and may do so prior to the filing of an answer to the preliminary objections.

Official Note: Rule 2.8 has no counterpart in former Orphans' Court Rules.

Explanatory Comment

 Preliminary objections to objections are limited in the grounds that may be raised. Insufficient specificity, failure to conform to law, and the inclusion of scandalous or impertinent matter, inter alia, are not properly raised as preliminary objections to Objections. (Cf. Rule 3.9 and Pa.R.C.P. 1028).

Rule 2.9. Confirmation of Accounts; Awards.

 (a) An Account shall be confirmed or Petition for Adjudication/Statement of Proposed Distribution approved when an adjudication or a decree of distribution is issued by the Court and docketed by the Clerk, expressly confirming the Account or approving the Petition for Adjudication/Statement of Proposed Distribution and specifying, or indicating by reference to the Petition for Adjudication/Statement of Proposed Distribution, the names of those to whom the balance available for distribution is awarded and the amount or share awarded to each.

 (b) An adjudication confirming an Account discharges the fiduciaries as to those transactions set forth in the Account.

Official Note: Rule 2.9 is substantively similar to former Rule 6.11(a). Former Rule 6.11(b) has been deleted.

Rule 2.10. Foreign Heirs and Unknown Distrib- utees.

 (a) If it appears that the decedent may have heirs in a foreign country but their location, existence or identity is unknown, the Accountant or his or her counsel shall notify the consulate of the country prior to audit of the facts indicating that the decedent may have had heirs in that country.

 (b) Whenever the existence, identity or whereabouts of a distributee is unknown, or it appears that a distributee may not have the actual benefit, use, enjoyment or control of the money or other property if awarded to him or her, or the Court is requested to withhold distribution or to make an award other than to the distributee or his or her nominee, the Accountant or his or her counsel shall submit to the Court or auditor, as the case may be, a written report outlining the investigation made and the facts relevant thereto. The report shall be in such form and may be filed at such place and time as shall be prescribed by Local Rule or special order of the Court.

Official Note: With only minor modifications, Rule 2.9 is substantially similar to former Rules 13.2 and 13.3. Former Rule 13.1 has been deleted.

Rule 2.11. Appointment of Official Examiners.

 The Court by Local Rule or special order may appoint an official examiner who shall examine the assets held or transacted by any Fiduciary whenever directed by the Court.

Official Note: Rule 2.11 is substantively identical to former Rule 9.1. The appointment and conduct of Auditors and Masters is provided in Chapter X.

III. PETITION PRACTICE AND PLEADING

Petition Practice

Rule

3.1.Petitions Generally.
3.2.Captions; Headings.
3.3.Contents of All Pleadings; General and Specific Averments.
3.4.Form of Petition; Exhibits; Consents; Signing and Verification.
3.5.Mode of Proceeding on Petition.

Responsive Pleadings

3.6.Pleadings Allowed After Petition.
3.7.Time for Filing and Service of Responsive Pleadings.
3.8.Headings of Responsive Pleadings.
3.9.Preliminary Objections.
3.10.Denials; Effect of Failure to Deny.
3.11.Answer with New Matter.

Pleadings in General

3.12.Format of Pleadings and Other Legal Papers.
3.13.Signing.
3.14.Verification.
3.15.Amendment.
3.16.Pleading More Than One Cause of Action; Alternative Pleadings.

Service of Legal Papers

3.17.Service of Legal Papers Other than Citations or Audit Notices.
3.18Notice or Citation to Individuals and Entities.

Petition Practice

Rule 3.1. Petitions Generally.

 Matters may be raised before the Court by written petition filed with the Clerk in conformity with these Rules. Petitions for Adjudication shall be governed by Chapter II.

Official Note: Rule 3.1 has no counterpart in former Orphans' Court Rules.

Explanatory Comment

 The filing of an Account provides the proceeding for raising questions related to the administration or distribution of an estate or trust, including a guardianship or Minor's estate as well as a decedent's estate. Application to the Orphans' Court may also be commenced by a petition that is Verified or attested by an affidavit. See 20 Pa.C.S. §§ 761, 762.

Rule 3.2. Captions; Headings.

 Pleadings shall be captioned ''Court of Common Pleas of ______ County, Orphans' Court Division'' and shall include a heading identifying the type of Pleading filed, or in the case of a petition, identifying the nature of the relief requested therein. The caption shall also include the docket number, if one has been assigned to the matter by the Clerk or Register.

Official Note: Rule 3.2 has no counterpart in former Orphans' Court Rules, but is derived from Pa.R.C.P. 1018.

Rule 3.3. Contents of All Pleadings; General and Specific Averments.

 The following rules shall apply to all Pleadings:

 (a) The material facts on which a cause of action or defense is based shall be stated in a concise and summary form.

 (b) Averments of fraud or mistake shall be averred with particularity. Malice, intent, knowledge, and other conditions of mind may be averred generally.

 (c) In pleading the performance or occurrence of conditions precedent, it is sufficient to aver generally that all conditions precedent have been performed or have occurred. A denial of such performance or occurrence shall be made specifically and with particularity.

 (d) In pleading an official document or official act, it is sufficient to identify it by reference and aver that the document was issued or the act done in compliance with law.

 (e) In pleading a judgment, order or decision of a domestic or foreign court, judicial or administrative tribunal, or board, commission or officer, it is sufficient to aver the judgment, order or decision without setting forth matter showing jurisdiction to render it.

 (f) Averments of time and place shall be specifically stated.

 (g) Any part of a Pleading may be incorporated by reference in another part of the same Pleading or in another Pleading in the same action. A party may incorporate by reference any matter of record in any state or federal court of record whose records are within the county in which the action is pending, or any matter which is recorded or transcribed verbatim in the office of the prothonotary, clerk of any court of record, recorder of deeds or Register of such county.

 (h) When any claim or defense is based upon an agreement, the Pleading shall state specifically if the agreement is oral or written.

 (i) When any claim or defense is based upon a writing, the Pleading shall have attached to it a copy of the writing, or the material part thereof, but if the writing or copy is not accessible to the pleader, it is sufficient so to state, identifying the reason thereof, and setting forth the substance of the writing.

Official Note: Rule 3.3 has no counterpart in former Orphans' Court Rules, but is derived from Pa.R.C.P. 1019.

Rule 3.4. Form of Petition; Exhibits; Consents; Signing and Verification.

 (a) In addition to the requirements of Rules 3.2 and 3.3, a petition shall set forth:

 (1) a title indicating briefly the purpose of the petition;

 (2) a concise statement of the facts relied upon to establish the Court's jurisdiction and to justify the relief requested;

 (3) the questions of law with respect to the petition and the relief requested;

 (4) the names and addresses of every Interested Party who has an interest in the matter that is the subject of the petition;

 (5) whether the Commonwealth is an Interested Party as required by these Rules or applicable law;

 (6) the name of any individual who is an Interested Party but is not sui juris, along with the following information:

 (i) the name and address of the Guardian, agent under power of attorney, or another individual being proposed to represent such individual, if any;

 (ii) if such individual is a Minor and no Guardian has been appointed for such Minor's estate, the Minor's age, the names and addresses of his or her parents, and the individual with whom he or she resides or the facility at which he or she resides; and

 (iii) if the individual who is not sui juris is proposed to be represented in the matters at issue by another individual or entity pursuant to 20 Pa.C.S. §§ 751(6) or 7721—7726, then subparagraph (7) below shall also apply.

 (7) the name of each Interested Party (whether sui juris or not) who is not receiving notice of the filing of the petition because another individual or entity is proposed to represent such Interested Party pursuant to 20 Pa.C.S. §§ 751(6) or 7721—7726, and shall set forth additional facts as to the following:

 (i) a statement of the Interested Party's interest in the property; and

 (ii) for representation being proposed pursuant to 20 Pa.C.S. § 751(6),

 (A) a statement that the Interested Party is not sui juris or is unborn, unknown or unascertained; and

 (B) one of the following:

 (I) a statement that the proposed representative has an interest in the property similar to that of the Interested Party who is not sui juris or is unborn, unknown or unascertained; or

 (II) a statement that the proposed representative is the sui juris living ancestor of the Interested Party who is not sui juris or is unborn, unknown or unascertained and that such living sui juris ancestor has an interest in the property that is not adverse to that of the Interested Party who is not sui juris or is unborn, unknown or unascertained; and

 (iii) for representation in trust matters being proposed pursuant to 20 Pa.C.S. §§ 7721—7726,

 (A) an explanation about how the Interested Party's interest in the property can be adequately represented by the proposed representative pursuant to 20 Pa.C.S. § 7723,

 (B) a statement that with respect to the matter at issue there is no conflict of interest between the proposed representative and the Interested Party to be represented that will or might affect the impartiality of the proposed representative (except as provided pursuant to 20 Pa.C.S. § 7723(7)); and

 (C) one of the following:

 (I) either a statement that the proposed representative has been informed of the right to decline such representation pursuant to 20 Pa.C.S. § 7725 within the time period set forth therein and has failed to inform the trustee in writing that he or she declines to be the proposed representative; or

 (II) a statement that the consent to serve signed by the proposed representative is attached as an exhibit to such petition.

 (8) a prayer for the relief desired.

 (b) A proposed form of decree bearing the caption of the case and setting forth the relief requested in the prayer of the petition shall be attached to the front of the petition. In the case of a petition requiring a citation under Rule 3.5(a), a proposed form of preliminary decree for the issuance of the citation to the Interested Parties, subject to subparagraph (a)(7) of this Rule, shall also be attached to the front of the petition.

 (c) Petitioner shall attach to the petition such exhibits, consents or approvals as may be required by these Rules, applicable statute, or Local Rule. If the petitioner is unable to attach any necessary exhibit, consent or approval, the petition shall so state and identify the reason thereof.

 (d) The petition shall be Verified by at least one of the petitioners in accordance with Rule 3.14 and signed by counsel, or if not represented by counsel, then by all the petitioners in accordance with Rule 3.13.

Official Note: Rule 3.4 is based upon former Rule 3.3 and Rule 3.4, but has been modified to require averments for virtual representation under 20 Pa.C.S. § 751(6) generally and representation in ''trust matters'' pursuant to 20 Pa.C.S. § 7721 et seq. Another modification is the addition of subparagraph (d) that requires petitioner's counsel to sign the petition, or all of the petitioners to sign the petition, if unrepresented, thereby subjecting these signatories to rules and sanctions as provided in Pa.R.C.P. 1023.1 through Pa.R.C.P. 1023.4. (See Rule 3.13.)

Rule 3.5. Mode of Proceeding on Petition.

 (a) Citation Practice.

 (1) When personal jurisdiction over an Interested Party is required and has not previously been obtained, or when a citation is otherwise required by applicable statute, the petition shall include a preliminary decree for the issuance of a citation to those Interested Parties for whom a citation is necessary to show cause why the relief requested in the petition should not be granted.

 (2) The citation to obtain personal jurisdiction and a copy of the petition shall be served upon each cited party at least 20 days before the date when a responsive Pleading is due, in the same manner as service of original process under Pa.R.C.P. 402 through 404, Pa.R.C.P. 420, and Pa.R.C.P. 422 through 424 inclusive. If service cannot be made under the foregoing rules, the Court may order service by Publication in accordance with Pa.R.C.P. 430.

 (3) If the citation is not being issued in order to obtain personal jurisdiction over an Interested Party, the petition and the citation may be served by first-class United States mail, postage prepaid, at least 20 days before the date when a responsive Pleading is due.

 (4) If the citation and petition are not served at least 20 days before the date when a responsive Pleading is due, the Court, upon request, may authorize the reissuance of the citation.

 (5) Once the citation to obtain personal jurisdiction has been served upon the cited party by original process in accordance with subparagraph (a)(2), then notice of a rescheduled return date or any other rescheduled date for filing a responsive Pleading or appearing before the Court may be served by first-class United States mail, postage prepaid, at least 20 days before such rescheduled date.

 (5) If an Interested Party (whether sui juris or not) is represented by another, the citation and petition shall be served upon the Interested Party's representative(s) pursuant to Rule 3.18.

 (6) Proof of service of the citation shall be filed with the Clerk on or before the return date.

 (7) On or before the return date, each Interested Party identified in the citation, or such Interested Party's representative identified in the citation, may file a responsive Pleading in accordance with these Rules.

 (b) Notice Practice.

 (1) In all cases where personal jurisdiction over an Interested Party is not required or has been previously obtained, the petitioner shall, either in advance of filing or contemporaneously therewith, provide a copy of the petition to the Interested Parties identified in the petition. The petition shall have affixed to its first page a notice to plead that shall be in substantially in the following form:

To: ______

You are hereby notified to file a written response to the (name of Pleading) within twenty (20) days from the date of notice or the date of filing, whichever is later, or the Court may deem that you have no objection to the relief requested in the petition and may grant such relief without further notice to you.

 (2) A certificate of service, listing the names and addresses of those individuals and entities receiving notice of the filing of the petition, shall be appended to, or filed contemporaneously with, the petition.

 (3) Unless the Court orders otherwise, each Interested Party identified in the petition, or such Interested Party's representative identified in the petition, may file a responsive Pleading in accordance with these Rules within 20 days of the date of notice or the date of the filing, whichever is later.

 (4) If an Interested Party (whether sui juris or not) is not receiving notice of the filing of the petition because he or she is represented by another, a copy of the petition shall be sent in accordance with subparagraph (b)(1) to the Interested Party's representative pursuant to Rule 3.18.

 (c) Failure to File a Responsive Pleading.

 An Interested Party identified in the petition who does not file a responsive Pleading shall be deemed to have joined in the petition and the relief requested therein for purposes of any subsequent appeal.

 (d) Consents/Statements of No Objection; Joinders.

 No citation or notice to plead is required where all individuals and/or entities identified in the petition as Interested Parties (or any representative thereof) satisfy one of the following:

 (1) they are named petitioners in the petition;

 (2) they filed joinders to the petition; or

 (3) they signed a document, that is attached to the petition as an exhibit, consenting to or stating that they have no objection to the relief requested in the petition.

Official Note: Subparagraphs (a) and (b) of Rule 3.5 are derived from former Rule 3.5. Subparagraphs (c) and (d) of this Rule have no counterpart in former Orphans' Court Rules.

Explanatory Comment

 The Court, by Local Rule or special order, may establish a procedure for rules to show cause as provided in Pa.R.C.P. 206.4 et seq.

Responsive Pleadings

Rule 3.6. Pleadings Allowed After Petition.

 Pleadings allowed after the filing of a petition are limited to:

 (a) an answer which can include new matter;

 (b) a reply, if an answer contains new matter;

 (c) preliminary objections to the petition as permitted by Rule 3.9;

 (d) an answer to preliminary objections;

 (e) a petition to join one or more persons as parties to the proceeding and an answer thereto; and

 (f) motions only as provided in Rule 1.7 (concerning the withdrawal of counsel), Rule 6.2 (regarding judgment on the Pleadings), and Rule 6.3 (regarding summary judgment).

Official Note: Rule 3.6 has no counterpart in former Orphans' Court Rules, but is based, in part, on Pa.R.C.P. 1017.

Explanatory Comment

 Any Interested Party may file a new petition bringing a new issue or dispute before the Court in the same trust or estate or may file a cross-petition seeking alternative relief.

Rule 3.7. Time for Filing and Service of Responsive Pleadings.

 (a) A copy of the responsive Pleading shall be sent to the petitioner or his or her counsel, if represented, and all Interested Parties identified in the Petition or counsel representing an Interested Party if so identified in the Petition. A certificate of service, listing the names and addresses of those individuals and entities receiving a copy of the responsive Pleading shall be appended to, or filed contemporaneously with, the responsive Pleading.

 (b) A notice to plead in substantially the form provided in Rule 3.5(b)(1) shall be affixed to the first page of an answer that contains new matter and preliminary objections which aver a fact that is not contained in the petition.

 (c) Each subsequent Pleading shall be filed within 20 days after service of the preceding Pleading, but no Pleading need be filed unless the preceding Pleading included a notice to plead that complies with the requirements of Rule 3.5(b)(1).

Official Note: Rule 3.7 is new, but is derived from Pa.R.C.P. 1026.

Explanatory Comment

 The Court, by Local Rule, may establish procedures for the disposition of matters after the Pleadings are closed.

Rule 3.8. Headings of Responsive Pleadings.

 All responsive Pleadings shall contain a heading identifying the name of the Pleading to which it is responding.

Official Note: Rule 3.8 has no counterpart in former Orphans' Court Rules.

Rule 3.9. Preliminary Objections.

 (a) General. Preliminary objections may be filed to any petition by any Interested Party or the Interested Party's representative.

 (b) Grounds for Preliminary Objections. Preliminary objections filed to any petition under the Rules of Chapter III are limited to the following grounds:

 (1) lack of jurisdiction over the subject matter of the action or lack of jurisdiction over the person, improper venue, or improper form of service;

 (2) failure of a Pleading to conform to law or rule of court or inclusion of scandalous or impertinent matter;

 (3) insufficient specificity in a Pleading;

 (4) legal insufficiency of a Pleading (demurrer);

 (5) lack of standing or lack of capacity to sue, nonjoinder of a necessary party, or misjoinder of a cause of action; and

 (6) pendency of a prior action or agreement for alternative dispute resolution.

 (c) Form. All preliminary objections shall be raised at one time in one Pleading, shall state specifically the grounds relied upon, and may be inconsistent.

 (d) Disposition of Preliminary Objections.

 (1) A party may file an amended Pleading, without consent of any other party and without leave of Court, within 20 days after service of the preliminary objections. If a party files an amended Pleading, the preliminary objections to the original Pleading shall be deemed moot.

 (2) In all other instances, the Court shall determine promptly all preliminary objections. If an issue of fact is raised, the Court shall consider evidence by deposition or otherwise.

 (e) Pleadings Allowed Subsequent to the Disposition of Preliminary Objections.

 (1) If the preliminary objections are overruled, the party who filed the preliminary objections shall have the right to file an answer within 20 days after entry of the order overruling the preliminary objections or within such other time as the Court shall direct.

 (2) If the filing of an amended petition or a new petition is allowed or required, it shall be filed within 20 days after entry of the order concerning such amended or new petition or within such other time as the Court shall direct.

 (3) New preliminary objections may be filed to any amended or new petition in accordance with this Rule.

Official Note: Rule 3.9 has no counterpart in former Orphans' Court Rules, but is derived from Pa.R.C.P. 1028.

Explanatory Comment

 Preliminary objections raising an issue under subparagraphs (b)(2), (b)(3), (b)(4), and in some instances (b)(1), may be determined from the facts of record so that further evidence is not required. In such situations, the Court may summarily decide preliminary objections prior to the filing of an answer.

 Preliminary objections raising an issue under subparagraphs (b)(5) and (b)(6), and in some instances (b)(1), cannot be determined from the facts of record. In such situations, if the preliminary objections are not endorsed with a notice to plead in the form required by Rule 3.5(b)(1), no reply will be required under Rule 3.10, and the preliminary objections will be overruled.

 Pleadings may be amended only in accordance with subparagraphs (d)(1), (e)(2) or Rule 3.15.

 For preliminary objections to Objections to an Account, Petition for Adjudication/Statement of Proposed Distribution or an audit notice, cf. Rule 2.8(c) for a more limited scope of permitted preliminary objections.

Rule 3.10. Denials; Effect of Failure to Deny.

 (a) A responsive Pleading shall admit or deny each averment of fact in the preceding Pleading or any part thereof. Admissions and denials in a responsive Pleading shall refer specifically to the paragraph in which the averment admitted or denied is set forth. A party denying only a part of an averment shall specify so much of it as is admitted and shall deny the remainder.

 (b) Averments in a Pleading to which a responsive Pleading is required are admitted when not denied specifically or by necessary implication. A general denial or a demand for proof, except as provided by subparagraph (c) of this Rule, shall have the effect of an admission.

 (c) A statement by a party that after reasonable investigation the party is without knowledge or information sufficient to form a belief as to the truth of an averment shall have the effect of a denial.

 (d) Averments in a Pleading to which no responsive Pleading is required shall be deemed to be denied.

 (e) A responsive Pleading shall be signed by counsel, or if not represented by counsel, then by all the respondents in accordance with Rule 3.13. A responsive Pleading that admits or denies any averment of fact shall be Verified by at least one of the respondents in accordance with Rule 3.14.

Official Note: Rule 3.10 has no counterpart in former Orphans' Court Rules, but is derived from Pa.R.C.P. 1029.

Explanatory Comment

 Reliance on subparagraph (c) does not excuse a failure to admit or deny a factual allegation when it is clear that the respondent must know whether a particular allegation is true or false. Cf. Cercone v. Cercone, 254 Pa. Super. 381, 386 A.2d 1 (1978).

Rule 3.11. Answer with New Matter.

 All applicable affirmative defenses shall be pleaded in the answer under the heading ''New Matter.'' A party may set forth as new matter any other material facts that are not merely denials of the averments of the preceding Pleading.

Official Note: Rule 3.11 has no counterpart in former Orphans' Court Rules, but is derived from Pa.R.C.P. 1030.

Pleadings in General

Rule 3.12. Format of Pleadings and Other Legal Papers.

 All Legal Papers filed with the Court must conform to the following requirements:

 (a) The document shall be on 8 1/2 inch by 11 inch paper.

 (b) The document shall be prepared on white paper (except for dividers and similar sheets) of good quality.

 (c) The text must be double spaced, but quotations more than two lines long may be indented and single-spaced. Margins must be at least one inch on all four sides.

 (d) The lettering shall be clear and legible and no smaller than font 12. The lettering shall be on only one side of a page, except that exhibits and similar supporting documents may be double-sided.

 (e) Every Pleading shall be divided into paragraphs numbered consecutively. Each paragraph shall contain as far as practicable only one material allegation.

Official Note: Rule 3.12 has no counterpart in former Orphans' Court Rules, but is derived from Pa.R.C.P. 204.1 and Pa.R.C.P. 206.1(c).

Explanatory Comment

 This Rule governing the format of Legal Papers is modeled after Pa.R.C.P. 204.1 and thus is substantively identical to Pa.R.A.P. 124(a) and Pa.R.Crim.P. 575(C). See Explanatory Comment to Pa.R.C.P. 204.1. The goal is to foster uniformity in the formatting of Legal Papers filed in all judicial tribunals, regardless of the level of court or division of court; this uniformity, in turn, will promote the objective of the unified judicial system under the Constitution of 1968 and facilitate the statewide practice of law.

Rule 3.13. Signing.

 (a) Every Pleading, and any brief or memorandum of law, of a party represented by counsel who has entered an appearance shall include counsel's name and shall be signed by counsel. Every Pleading, and any brief or memorandum of law, of a party not represented by counsel of record shall include the name of the party, shall be signed by the party, and shall include an address where Legal Papers may be served and a telephone number.

 (b) If the Legal Papers include a facsimile telephone number and/or email address, that party or his or her counsel agrees to accept service of Legal Papers by transmitting a Facsimile copy or by electronic transmission.

 (c) By signing a Legal Paper, the party and counsel are subject to Pa.R.C.P. 1023.1 through 1023.4. The Court has authority to impose sanctions and grant relief in accordance with Pa.R.C.P. 1023.4.

Official Note: Rule 3.13 has no counterpart in former Orphans' Court Rules, but subparagraphs (a) and (b) but are derived from Pa.R.C.P. 1025. Rule 3.13(c) is based upon Pa.R.C.P. 1023.1 et seq.

Explanatory Comment

 The Official Note appearing after Pa.R.C.P. 1023.1 and the Explanatory Comment appearing after Pa.R.C.P. 1023.4 are fully incorporated by reference herein.

Rule 3.14. Verification.

 (a) A verification shall be attached to every Pleading, Verified by oath or an affirmation or made subject to the penalties of 18 Pa.C.S. § 4904 relating to unsworn falsification to authorities, averring that every fact not appearing of record in the action or containing a denial of fact is true upon the signer's personal knowledge or information and belief. A Pleading may be Verified upon personal knowledge as to a part and upon information and belief as to the remainder. The signer need not aver the source of the information or expectation of ability to prove the averment or denial at the trial.

 (b) If a Pleading contains averments that are inconsistent in fact, the verification shall state that the signer has been unable after reasonable investigation to ascertain which of the inconsistent averments, specifying them, are true but that the signer has knowledge or information sufficient to form a belief that one of them is true.

 (c) The verification shall be made by one or more of the parties filing the Pleading unless all the parties (1) lack sufficient knowledge or information, or (2) are outside the jurisdiction of the Court and the verification of none of them can be obtained within the time allowed for filing the Pleading. In such cases, the verification may be made by any person having sufficient knowledge or information and belief and shall set forth the source of the person's information as to matters not stated upon his or her own knowledge and the reason why the verification is not made by a party.

Official Note: Rule 3.14 has no counterpart in former Orphans' Court Rules, but is derived from Pa.R.C.P. 1024.

Rule 3.15. Amendment.

 A party may amend a Pleading pursuant to Rule 3.9(d)(1) or, at any time, either by written consent of all other parties filed with the Clerk or by leave of Court. The amended Pleading may aver transactions or occurrences that have happened before or after the filing of the original Pleading. An amendment may be made to conform the Pleading to the evidence offered or admitted.

Official Note: Rule 3.15 has no counterpart in former Orphans' Court Rules, but is derived from Pa.R.C.P. 1033.

Explanatory Comment

 Rule 3.9(d)(1) provides for amending a Pleading after the filing of preliminary objections.

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