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PA Bulletin, Doc. No. 20-65




[ 231 PA. CODE PART II ]

Order Adopting Rule 1.40 and Amending the Note to Rule 14.8 of the Pennsylvania Orphans' Court Rules; No. 820 Supreme Court Rules Doc.

[50 Pa.B. 306]
[Saturday, January 18, 2020]


Per Curiam

And Now, this 2nd day of January, 2020, upon the recommendation of the Orphans' Court Procedural Rules Committee; the proposal having been submitted without publication pursuant to Pa.R.J.A. No. 103(a)(3):

 It is Ordered pursuant to Article V, Section 10 of the Constitution of Pennsylvania that Rule 1.40 of the Pennsylvania Orphans' Court Rules is adopted in the following form and that the Note to Rule 14.8 of the Pennsylvania Orphans' Court Rules is amended in the following form.

 This Order shall be processed in accordance with Pa.R.J.A. No. 103(b), and shall be effective on April 1, 2020.

Annex A




 (Editor's Note: The following rule is new and printed in regular type to enhance readability.)

Rule 1.40. In Forma Pauperis.

 Pa.R.C.P. No. 240 shall apply in every action or proceeding before a court covered by these Rules.

Explanatory Comment: Under Pa.R.C.P. No. 240, a party who is found by the court to be without financial resources to pay the costs of filing a legal paper or other costs of an action or proceeding before the court shall have such costs waived. This Rule does not apply in matters before a Register of Wills.


Rule 14.8. Guardianship Reporting, Monitoring, Review, and Compliance.

 (a) Reporting. A guardian shall file the following reports with the clerk:

 (1) An inventory by the guardian of the estate within 90 days of such guardian's appointment;

 (2) An annual report by the guardian of the estate of an incapacitated person one year after appointment and annually thereafter;

 (3) An annual report by the guardian of the person one year after appointment and annually thereafter;

 (4) A final report by the guardian of the person and the guardian of the estate within 60 days of the death of the incapacitated person, an adjudication of capacity, a change of guardian, or the expiration of an order of limited duration; and

 (5) A final report from the guardian of the person and the guardian of the estate upon receipt of the provisional order from another state's court accepting transfer of a guardianship.

Note: See Pa.R.J.A. No. 510 governing the filing of inventories and annual reports online using the Guardianship Tracking System.

 (b) Notice of Filing. If, pursuant to Rule 14.7(a)(1)(iv), the order appointing the guardian identifies the person or persons entitled to receive notice of the filing of any report set forth in paragraph (a), the guardian shall serve a notice of filing within ten days after filing a report using the form provided in the Appendix to these Rules. Service shall be in accordance with Rule 4.3.

*  *  *  *  *


Adoption of Pa. O.C. Rule 1.40 and Amendment of Pa. O.C. Rule 14.8

 The Orphans' Court Procedural Rules Committee (''Committee'') recommended to the Supreme Court the adoption of new Rule 1.40 and the amendment of Rule 14.8 of the Pennsylvania Orphans' Court Rules (''Rules''). The Committee made this recommendation to the Court pursuant to Pa.R.J.A. 103(a)(3) without prior publication because the proposed changes are of a perfunctory nature or required in the interests of justice and efficient administration.

New Rule 1.40: This new Rule applies Pa.R.C.P. No. 240, governing requests to proceed in forma pauperis, to every action or proceeding before a court covered by the Rules. Prior to the substantial rewrite of the Rules that took effect on September 1, 2016,1 former Rule 3.1 required conformity with the Rules of Civil Procedure when the Orphans' Court Rules did not provide guidance on a particular matter. Because the former Rules did not include a procedure for a person without the financial resources to pay the costs of litigation to proceed in forma pauperis, such matters were governed by Pa.R.C.P. No. 240 prior to the effective date of the Rules rewrite, September 1, 2016. Former Rule 3.1 was rescinded and was not replaced in the rewrite. The new Rules that took effect in 2016 did not address in forma pauperis proceedings. Thus, there was no longer a rule that a person without financial resources to pay the cost of litigation could rely upon to obtain in forma pauperis status. New Rule 1.40 restores the pre-2016 reliance on Pa.R.C.P. No. 240.

Rule 14.8: This Rule provides for the requirement and timing of guardian reports and inventories required by statute and took effect on June 1, 2019.2 See Rule 14.8.

 The Administrative Office of Pennsylvania Courts developed an electronic filing system for filing reports and inventories by guardians, the Guardianship Tracking System (''GTS''). The Court adopted a Rule of Judicial Administration establishing the GTS as the exclusive method for electronically filing required guardianship reports and inventories and for tracking data related to statewide guardianship cases of adult incapacitated persons.3 See Pa.R.J.A. No. 510(b). That Rule includes instructions on establishing a UJS portal account, making electronic fillings via the GTS, handling of paper records, and the use of electronic signatures. Id. (b)—(d).

 With statewide implementation of the GTS completed and the new Guardianship Rules in full effect, the Court added a note to Rule 14.8(a) cross-referencing Pa.R.J.A. No. 510 to ensure awareness of the administrative requirements of the GTS by guardians.

[Pa.B. Doc. No. 20-65. Filed for public inspection January 17, 2020, 9:00 a.m.]


1See Order of December 1, 2015, No. 682, Supreme Court Rules Docket.

2See Order of June 1, 2018, No. 770, Supreme Court Rules Docket.

3See Order of August 31, 2018, No. 501, Judicial Administration Docket.

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