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PA Bulletin, Doc. No. 17-504



Adoption of Local Orphans' Court Rules; O.C. 2017-17

[47 Pa.B. 1738]
[Saturday, March 25, 2017]


And Now, March 6, 2017, the following new local Orphans' Court rules for the Court of Common Pleas of Crawford County, 30th Judicial District of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania are adopted to be effective thirty (30) days after publication in the Pennsylvania Bulletin.

 The Crawford County District Court Administrator is Ordered and Directed to do the following:

 1. File one (1) copy of this order and the local rules with the Administrative Office of Pennsylvania Courts via e-mail to

 2. File two (2) paper copies of this order and the rules and one (1) electronic copy in a Microsoft Word format only to with the Legislative Reference Bureau for publication in the Pennsylvania Bulletin.

 3. Publish a copy of these rules on the Crawford County Court website at and thereafter compile these rules within the complete set of local rules within thirty (30) days after the new local rules become effective.

 4. File one (1) copy of the local rules in the Office of the Clerk of Courts of Crawford County and in the Crawford County Law Library for public inspection and copying.

By the Court

President Judge


Rule 1.1. Title and Citation.

 These rules shall be known as the Crawford County Orphans' Court Rules. They shall be cited as ''Cra.O.C.R.''

Rule 1.3. Definitions.

Legal Periodical—The Crawford County Legal Journal is the legal periodical for the publication of legal notices in Crawford County.

Rule 1.6. Mediation.

 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 parties as an order or decree of the Court.

 The Court may order mediation in a particular matter upon motion of any interested party or sua sponte. In any such order entered the Court shall set forth any specific requirements with regard to mediation.

Rule 1.7. Attorneys.

Appearance. Any attorney representing a party in any proceeding in the Orphan's Court Division shall file a written appearance with the Clerk of the Orphan's Court which shall state the attorney's Pennsylvania Supreme Court Identification Number, fax number, telephone number and an address within the Commonwealth at which papers may be served. Written notice of entry of appearance shall be given forthwith to all parties, or their counsel.

Rule 1.8. Cover Sheet.

 All motions and petitions presented at motion court shall include a completed motion court cover sheet in a form in compliance with Crawford County Local Civil Rule L205.2(b). (See Exhibit L205.2(b) for sample of cover sheet form.)


Rule 2.6. Filing with the Clerk.

 Accounts of personal representatives including statements of proposed distribution shall be filed with the Clerk of Orphans' Court in duplicate. Following confirmation, one copy of the account of personal representatives, with the date of confirmation noted thereon, shall be forwarded to the Register of Wills for indexing and filing with records of the proceeding in the Register's Office for that decedent.

Rule 2.10. Foreign Heirs and Unknown Distribu- tees.

 The report filed consistent with Pa.O.C. RULE 2.10(b) shall include the following:

 (a) The nature of the investigation made to locate any distributee(s) in full detail;

 (1) If applicable to the determination of any distributees identity, complete family tree in as much detail as possible, supported by any documentary evidence as the petitioner has been able to obtain;

 (2) A statement that investigation was made by as many of the following means as available and feasible; questioning of member(s) of the household of the decedent or settlor, and/or friends, neighbors and/or known relatives thereof; officers and members of groups, unions, social or fraternal organizations to which decedent or settlor belonged; contacting employers and/or co-workers; examining church, insurance, school and voter registrations records; Veteran's Administration and Social Security records; naturalization records if not a native born citizen; telephone and electronic media such as internet listings; and such other sources as the circumstances suggest;

 (3) If the fiduciary determines that a non-resident distributee shall not be able respond or enjoy the benefit of the interest due thereto, the fiduciary shall indicate in the report the reason for that determination.

 (b) The report will be filed in the office of the Clerk of Court when the accounting is filed and notice shall be given to the distributee or where applicable, to the guardian, parent, next of kin or party having custody of the distributee or any other party required by rule or statute.

Rule 2.11. Appointment of Official Examiners.

 The Court may enter an order appointing an examiner or examiners who shall examine the assets held by a fiduciary and make a full written report thereon to the Court showing what assets belong to the estate, how they are registered or otherwise earmarked as the property of the estate to which they belong, and where and how the cash belonging to the estate is kept or deposited.

 The Court may, in any order appointing an examiner or examiners, also direct the examiner or examiners to accomplish one or more of the following:

 (a) Determine, in the case of a trust, if its purposes are being carried out;

 (b) Determine, if the funds and assets in the hands of the fiduciary are being used or applied in accord with any trust instrument, will, applicable statute, regulation or court order;

 (c) Make a written report including findings of fact, conclusions of law; and when appropriate, recommendations for consideration of the Court; and

 (d) Such other matters as the Court may designate.

 Examiners shall be allowed such fees from principal or income, or apportioned between principal and income as may be directed by the Court.


Rule 3.5. Form. Notice of Motion or Petition.

 (a) Before any motion or petition is filed, the moving party shall serve a copy of the motion, petition, request or application, and any proposed order, and a statement of the date and time of the intended presentation to counsel of record and any unrepresented party at least three (3) business days in advance of the presentation. Service may be accomplished personally, by first class mail or by facsimile transmission. Service shall be made pursuant to Pa.O.C. Rule 3.5.

 (b) A document in the following form shall be attached to each contested and uncontested motion or petition and every copy of the same that is filed or served:


 You are hereby notified that the attached motion/petition will be presented by me on ______ , 20______ .

 ( ) to the Clerk of Courts.

 ( ) in Motion's Court at 8:45 o'clock a.m.


 The undersigned represents that three (3) business days' prior notice and copy of this motion and proposed order have been served by ( ) first class mail ( ) fax, or ( ) hand delivery on the ____ day of ______ , 20______ upon all parties or their counsel of record in accordance with Pa.O.C. Rule 3.5.


 A. Is this an original filing in this case?

 ____ Yes  ____ No

 B. Has any Judge heard this matter previously?

 ____ Yes  ____ No

 C. If yes, name of Judge who presided over previous matter:

 ____ Vardaro  ____ Spataro

 ____ Stevens  ____ other/Name

 D. Estimated Court time required for this matter.

 ____ Minutes  ____ Hours  ____ Days

 E. Is this motion/petition opposed by another party?

 ____ Yes  ____ No  ____ Unknown


 The undersigned represents that:

 ____ 1. All parties or counsel have consented.

 ____ 2. Consents of all parties or counsel are attached.

 ____ 3. The Petition seeks only a return hearing or argument date and no other relief.

 Opposing Counsel: ______ (if opposing party is unrepresented, list his/her current address and telephone): ______ (Telephone) ______


 By _________________

 Attorney for: _________________

 (c). Suggested Order. Every motion, request and application shall have attached thereto a suggested order granting the relief that is requested by the moving party.

 (d). Service of Order Entered. All orders entered by the Court after the presentation of a motion, petition, request or application shall be served upon all opposing parties or their counsel by the moving party within three (3) business days after the entry of the order by the Court. Service of a conformed order is sufficient. As a courtesy, the Clerk of Courts may furnish a copy of the actual order at a later date, but the responsibility of the moving party to effectuate service is not relieved hereby.

Explanatory Comment

 This local rule is intended to allow parties to bring before the court uncomplicated or uncontested matters. The court will not conduct argument or hold an evidentiary hearing at motions court on matters that are contested. In those cases an order will be entered directing the court administrator to schedule argument and/or an evidentiary hearing and the responding party will have twenty (20) days to respond consistent with the uniform notice period established by the Pennsylvania Orphans' Court Rules.


Rule 7.1. Depositions, Discovery, Production of Documents and Perpetuation of Testimony.

 The procedure relating to depositions, discovery and production of documents shall be governed by special Order of Court consistent with the following:

 (1) Leave to take depositions and/or discovery or production of documents shall be granted only upon petition with good cause shown, except upon agreement of counsel.

 (2) In the case of a will contest, no discovery shall be allowed prior to the filing of the contest or caveat.


Rule 9.1.

 An auditor or master appointed pursuant to 20 Pa.C.S. § 751 shall give notice of scheduled hearing in writing at least twenty (20) days prior to the hearing.

Rule 9.6. Notice of Filing Report.

 An auditor or master filing a report or an intention to file a report shall provide notice of the same to all parties or counsel for represented parties in writing by sending first class mail no later than the day the report is filed.

Rule 9.7. Confirmation of Report.

 Any interested party shall have the right to file exceptions to the auditor's report or to a master's report within twenty (20) days after the date notice of the filing of the report is received by that party.

 If no exceptions are filed within twenty (20) days after the service thereof, the Court may enter a decree confirming the auditor's report or approving the master's report and adopting its recommendations unless the time to file exceptions has been extended by the Court.

 If exceptions are filed the matter shall go on the argument list as provided for in the Crawford County Civil Rules of Court and after disposition of any exceptions the Court will enter a confirmation either consistent with the report or with such modifications as the Court may deem appropriate after consideration of the exceptions.

Rule 10.2. Proceedings before the Register of Wills.

 (a) Discovery before the Register of Wills, upon application to the Register by an interested party, shall be limited to the following: depositions, request for production of documents, request for admissions, subpoenas.

 (b) Objections to the discovery before the Register of Wills shall be addressed to, and decided by, the Register of Wills or the Deputy Register or solicitor presiding over the hearing.

 (c) Requests for additional discovery beyond this rule shall be made to a Judge of the Orphans Court Division by petition with proper notice.

[Pa.B. Doc. No. 17-504. Filed for public inspection March 24, 2017, 9:00 a.m.]

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