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PA Bulletin, Doc. No. 16-1295



Promulgation of Local Rules; No. 1793 S 1989

[46 Pa.B. 4142]
[Saturday, July 30, 2016]


And Now, this 15th day of July 2016, Dauphin County Orphans' Court Local Rules are promulgated as follows:


Rule 1.1. Short Title and Citation.

 These Rules shall be known as the Dauphin County Orphans' Court Rules and shall be cited as D.C.O.C.R.

Rule 1.2. Construction and Application of Rules.

 (a) The Dauphin County Orphans' Court Rules, in conjunction with the Supreme Court Orphans' Court Rules and all Acts of Assembly regulating the practice and procedure in the Orphans' Court, shall regulate the practice and procedure in the Orphans' Court Division of this Court.

Rule 1.6. Mediation by Agreement, Local Rule, or Court Order.

 All interested parties in a matter may use mediation to resolve issues pending before the Court, and, upon either partial or complete resolution, may petition the Court to approve the agreement of all interested parties as an order or decree of the Court.

 (a) The interested parties may engage the services of a mediator, either prior to or after any interested party has filed a pleading before the Court, including an Account filed by a fiduciary for audit.

 (b) In such request for mediation, all interested parties shall identify:

 (1) The proposed mediator and the proposed source of payment of fees and costs of the mediator;

 (2) Names and contact information of all interested parties and any counsel who shall participate in the mediation;

 (3) Names and information regarding any interested parties having diminished capacity or a legal disability whose interests must be adequately protected; and

 (4) The scheduled date for the initial mediation conference.

 (c) All interested parties shall execute an agreement for confidential mediation, which is not inconsistent with this local rule, and which shall remain confidential.

 (d) Mediation shall not delay the required filing of any pleading or ordered return dates, or the scheduling of Court hearings, unless specifically requested by joinder of the interested parties and so ordered by the Court.

 (e) The Court will respect the confidentiality of the mediation process and the mediator's obligation of confidentiality.

 (f) Upon completion of mediation, all interested parties shall sign a memorandum of principal terms, which either shall acknowledge that no resolution was reached, or shall embody the resolutions attained. This memorandum of principal terms shall clearly state partial resolutions or complete resolution attained. The memorandum of principal terms shall include a list of unresolved issues to be determined by the Court. Where appropriate, the principal terms could provide for future review in light of changed circumstances or a change in the operative facts. The memorandum of principal terms agreed upon, or the statement of no resolution, shall be filed with the Court.

 (g) In no event shall the terms agreed upon depart from or violate any provisions of applicable law, specifically including the Older Adults Protective Services Act, the Act of Dec. 18, 1996, P.L.1125, No.169 (35 P.S. §§ 10225.101—10225.5102), as may be amended.

 (h) The interested parties may request that the Court approve the final mediated agreement, which embodies the principal terms agreed upon in the memorandum referenced above. The Court may grant approval in an order or decree. Alternatively, the Court may recommend any changes that the Court deems appropriate for approval. The parties to the mediation may accept the Court's recommendations, in which event the terms agreed upon, as modified, shall be approved, or the parties may decline to accept the Court's recommendations, in which event the matter is deemed not to have resulted in an agreement.

Rule 1.8(c). Docketing of Cases and Request for Assignment.

 (1) All matters shall be filed with the Clerk of the Orphans' Court before they are entertained by this Court.

 (2) When the issuance of a citation is requested, or when any petition, account, objection, preliminary objection, exception to an auditor's or master's report, or motion is ready to be scheduled for a hearing, argument, or disposition by the Court, or when a conference with the Court is requested, a party must file a ''Request for Assignment'' using the latest format, together with a proposed citation, rule, or order which contain a distribution legend. The Request for Assignment must state:

 (a) the name and docket number of the case;

 (b) the title and date of the matter(s) ready for assignment;

 (c) whether all responsive pleadings have been filed or the time for responsive pleadings has elapsed;

 (d) if a hearing or argument is requested, the anticipated length of the hearing or argument;

 (e) a list of any related cases; and

 (f) the names, addresses, telephone numbers, and email addresses of all counsel and self-represented parties.

 Request for Assignment forms shall be available from the Clerk of the Orphans' Court or online at

Rule 1.9. Disposition.

 The Court may hear testimony or appoint a master to hear the testimony and report his/her findings of fact, conclusions of law and recommendations to the Court.

Note: See PEF Code § 751


Rule 2.11. Appointment of Official Examiners.

 (a) Rules pertaining to auditors in Chapter IX shall extend to official examiners insofar as applicable.


Rule 3.4. Form of Petition; Exhibits.

 (c)(1) A typewritten version of a holographic writing offered for probate or interpretation shall be attached to a petition.

 (2) The Court may require the filing of exhibits, consents or approvals to a petition as may be required by Pennsylvania Orphans' Court Rules, applicable statute, or other authority applicable to the petition, as may be deemed necessary in the discretion of the Court in exercise of its equity powers or application of equitable principles.

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

 (e) Disposition—No Answer. If no answer is filed, upon proof of service of the citation, the Court may grant the relief requested.


Rule 4.2. Citation of Notice to Individuals and Entities.

 (e) Form of Notice: Except as otherwise provided in these Rules or as provided by Act of Assembly, every notice shall contain at least the following information:

 (1) the caption of the case;

 (2) a description of the nature of the proceeding;

 (3) the date, time and place when the matter is to be heard by the Court to the extent then known;

 (4) the name of the decedent, settlor, incompetent or minor, if not disclosed by the caption;

 (5) the names and addresses of all fiduciaries; and

 (6) the name and address of counsel for each fiduciary.

Note: Pennsylvania Rules of Civil Procedure 422, 423 and 424 specify to whom notice shall be given when serving the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania and its subdivisions, partnerships and unincorporated associations, and corporations, respectively.


Rule 9.1. Appointment; Notice of Hearings.

 (a) An auditor or master may be appointed by the Court on its own motion or upon the petition of the accountant or of any interested party. All auditors and masters shall be members of the Bar of the Supreme Court of Pennsylvania.

 (b) Once appointed, an auditor or master shall schedule a hearing and give notice thereof to all interested parties at least twenty days prior to the hearing. The notice of the auditor or master shall be given in accordance with Rule 4.2.

Rule 9.2. Filing of Report.

 (a) Reports of auditors and masters shall be filed with the Clerk of the Orphans' Court and served on the attorney for each interested party.

Rule 9.6. Notice of Filing Report.

 (a) At the time of filing of the report, the auditor or master shall notify, in writing, the attorney for each interested party of the date of filing of the report and recommendation. The notice shall state that the report and recommendation will be submitted to the court for review and confirmation if no timely exceptions are filed in accordance with Rule 9.7(a)(1).

Rule 9.7. Confirmation of Report.

 (a)(1) Exceptions. Any exceptions to the report and recommendation shall be filed with the Clerk of the Orphans' Court within twenty days after receipt of the notice required by Rule 9.6(a) and served on the attorney for each interested party and the master or auditor. If exceptions are filed, the Clerk of the Orphans' Court shall forward the file to the Court Administrator's Office for assignment to a judge. No exceptions may be filed after the expiration of the twenty days without leave of Court for good cause shown.

 (2) Confirmation. If no exceptions have been filed, the Clerk of the Orphans' Court shall forward the file to the Court Administrator's Office for assignment to a judge and the report and recommendation shall be confirmed absolutely.

Rule 9.9. Rules for Masters.

 Rules pertaining to auditors shall extend to masters insofar as applicable.


Rule 10.4. Appeals from the Register of Wills.

 (a) When an appeal is taken from a proceeding before the Register of Wills, the record of the matter shall be certified to the Court in accordance with 20 Pa.C.S. Section 907 (relating to certification of records to the Court). The appeal shall be in the form of a petition to the Court and shall set forth:

 (1) The nature of the proceedings before the Register.

 (2) The basis for the appeal, including the facts or circumstances upon which it is based.

 (3) The names and the addresses of all interested parties, including those who have not been parties of record.

 These rules shall be effective September 1, 2016.

By the Court

President Judge

[Pa.B. Doc. No. 16-1295. Filed for public inspection July 29, 2016, 9:00 a.m.]

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