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TABLE OF CONTENTS

 

TITLE 20

DECEDENTS, ESTATES AND FIDUCIARIES

 

Chapter 1.  Short Title and Definitions

 

§ 101.  Short title.

§ 102.  Definitions.

 

Chapter 3.  Ownership of Property; Legal Title and Equitable Estate

 

§ 301.  Title to real and personal estate of a decedent.

§ 302.  Title to real and personal estate of an incapacitated person.

§ 303.  Title to real and personal estate of a minor.

§ 304.  Application of payments made to fiduciaries.

§ 305.  Right to dispose of a decedent's remains.

 

Chapter 7.  Orphans' Court Divisions

 

Subchapter A.  Organization

 

§ 701.  Orphans' court divisions.

 

Subchapter B.  Jurisdiction

 

§ 711.  Mandatory exercise of jurisdiction through orphans' court division in general.

§ 712.  Nonmandatory exercise of jurisdiction through orphans' court division.

§ 713.  Special provisions for Philadelphia County.

§ 714.  Conflict of laws.

§ 715.  Incidental powers (Repealed).

 

Subchapter C.  Venue

 

§ 721.  Venue of decedents', minors' and incapacitated persons' estates.

§ 722.  Venue of trust estates.

§ 723.  Situs of testamentary trust (Deleted by amendment).

§ 724.  Situs of inter vivos trust (Deleted by amendment).

§ 725.  Change of situs; order of court (Deleted by amendment).

§ 726.  Venue of nonprofit corporations.

§ 727.  Venue of cemetery companies.

 

Subchapter D.  Judges (Repealed)

 

§ 731 - § 732 (Repealed).

 

Subchapter E.  Duties of the Clerk and Sheriff

 

§ 741.  Duties of the clerk (Repealed).

§ 742.  Dockets (Repealed).

§ 743.  Bill of costs (Repealed).

§ 744.  Translation of foreign language documents (Repealed).

§ 745.  Advertisement of accounts.

§ 746.  Money paid into court (Repealed).

§ 747.  Powers and duties of the sheriff (Repealed).

§ 748.  Fees (Repealed).

 

Subchapter F.  Masters, Auditors, Examiners, Guardians Ad Litem and Trustees Ad Litem

 

§ 751.  Appointment; purpose.

§ 752.  Compensation.

§ 753.  Subpoenas.

§ 754.  Power to administer oaths (Repealed).

 

Subchapter G.  Procedure

 

§ 761.  Petitions.

§ 762.  Accounts.

§ 763.  Writs of habeas corpus (Repealed).

§ 764.  Citation.

§ 765.  Service of citation.

§ 766.  Proof of service.

§ 767.  Parties in interest.

§ 768.  Manner of service; proof.

§ 769.  Power of orphans' court division (Repealed).

§ 771.  Decree without prior hearing; attachment; sequestration (Repealed).

§ 772.  Injunctions (Repealed).

§ 773.  Subpoenas (Repealed).

§ 774.  Depositions and discovery.

§ 775.  Perpetuation of testimony and court records.

§ 776.  Testimony in proceedings removed from register.

§ 777.  Right to jury trial; discretion of orphans' court division.

§ 778.  Procedure for jury trials.

§ 779.  Nonsuits.

§ 781.  Methods of enforcement.

§ 782.  Procedure on attachment of the person.

§ 783.  Procedure on sequestration of real or personal property.

§ 784.  Procedure on execution on personal property.

§ 785.  Procedure on attachment execution.

§ 786.  Procedure on execution on real estate.

§ 791.  Allowance and allocation (Repealed).

§ 792.  Right of appeal (Repealed).

§ 793.  Effect of appeal.

§ 794.  Disposition of cases on appeal (Repealed).

 

Chapter 9.  Register of Wills

 

Subchapter A.  Jurisdiction and Powers

 

§ 901.  Register's jurisdiction.

§ 902.  Deputy register.

§ 903.  Witnesses; testimony.

§ 904.  Witness fees.

§ 905.  Enforcement of subpoenas, orders and costs.

§ 906.  Caveat.

§ 907.  Certification of records to court.

§ 908.  Appeals.

§ 909.  Bill of costs (Repealed).

§ 910.  Transmission of accounts to the court.

§ 911.  Attestation of certain applications and documents.

 

Subchapter B.  Records and Certified Copies

 

§ 921.  Wills.

§ 922.  Inventories.

§ 923.  Certified copies.

§ 924.  Recording proceedings in another county.

§ 925.  Certificates and affidavits of death.

 

Chapter 21.  Intestate Succession

 

§ 2101.  Intestate estate.

§ 2102.  Share of surviving spouse.

§ 2103.  Shares of others than surviving spouse.

§ 2104.  Rules of succession.

§ 2105.  Spouse's rights.

§ 2106.  Forfeiture.

§ 2107.  Persons born out of wedlock.

§ 2108.  Adopted person.

§ 2109.  Advancements (Repealed).

§ 2109.1. Advancements.

§ 2110.  Spouse's allowance; procedure.

§ 2111.  Procedure to establish title to real property when spouse claims entire estate (Repealed).

§ 2112.  Property distributable to the Commonwealth (Repealed).

§ 2113.  Limitations of claims (Repealed).

§ 2114.  Personal estate of nonresident (Repealed).

 

Chapter 22.  Elective Share of Surviving Spouse

 

§ 2201.  Definition of conveyance.

§ 2202.  Right of election; nonresident decedent.

§ 2203.  Right of election; resident decedent.

§ 2204.  Disclaimers, releases and charges against elective share.

§ 2205.  Transfers for value excluded.

§ 2206.  Right of election personal to surviving spouse.

§ 2207.  Waiver of right to elect.

§ 2208.  Forfeiture of right of election.

§ 2209.  Surviving spouse as witness.

§ 2210.  Procedure for election; time limit.

§ 2211.  Determination of effect of election; enforcement.

 

Chapter 25.  Wills

 

§ 2501.  Who may make a will.

§ 2502.  Form and execution of a will.

§ 2503.  Nuncupative wills (Repealed).

§ 2504.  Witnesses (Repealed).

§ 2504.1. Validity of execution.

§ 2505.  Revocation of a will.

§ 2506.  Revival of revoked or invalid will.

§ 2507.  Modification by circumstances.

§ 2508.  Change by election of surviving spouse (Repealed).

§ 2509.  Forfeiture of right of election (Repealed).

§ 2510.  How election made (Repealed).

§ 2511.  Time for making election (Repealed).

§ 2512.  Failure to make an election (Repealed).

§ 2513.  Grantee or lienholder (Repealed).

§ 2514.  Rules of interpretation.

§ 2515.  Devise or bequest to trust.

§ 2516.  Devise in fee tail abolished.

§ 2517.  Rule in Shelley's case and doctrine of worthier title.

§ 2518.  Alienage.

§ 2519.  Testamentary guardian.

§ 2520.  Personal estate of nonresident (Repealed).

§ 2521.  Penalty clause for contest.

 

Chapter 27.  Contractual Arrangements Relating to Succession

 

§ 2701.  Contracts concerning succession.

 

Chapter 28.  Formula Clauses for Federal Tax Purposes

 

§ 2801.  Definitions.

§ 2802.  Interpretation of formula clauses.

§ 2803.  Judicial proceeding.

 

Chapter 31.  Dispositions Independent of Letters; Family Exemption; Probate of Wills and Grant of Letters

 

Subchapter A.  Dispositions Independent of Letters

 

§ 3101.  Payments to family and funeral directors.

§ 3102.  Settlement of small estates on petition.

 

Subchapter B.  Family Exemption

 

§ 3121.  When allowable.

§ 3122.  Payment or delivery of exemption.

§ 3123.  Payment from real estate.

§ 3124.  Income.

§ 3125.  Other remedies.

§ 3126.  Grantee or lienholder.

 

Subchapter C.  Probate

 

§ 3131.  Place of probate.

§ 3132.  Manner of probate.

§ 3132.1. Self-proved wills.

§ 3133.  Limit of time for probate.

§ 3134.  Nuncupative wills (Repealed).

§ 3135.  Wills in foreign language.

§ 3136.  Wills probated outside the Commonwealth.

§ 3137.  Enforcing production of will.

§ 3138.  Later will or codicil.

 

Subchapter D.  Grant of Letters

 

§ 3151.  Proper county.

§ 3152.  When 21 years elapsed.

§ 3153.  Contents of petition.

§ 3154.  Affidavit and oath.

§ 3155.  Persons entitled.

§ 3156.  Persons not qualified.

§ 3157.  Nonresidents.

§ 3158.  Letters of administration C.T.A.

§ 3159.  Letters of administration D.B.N. or D.B.N.C.T.A.

§ 3160.  Letters of administration durante minoritate, durante absentia, and pendente lite.

§ 3161.  Oath of personal representative.

§ 3162.  Advertisement of grant of letters.

 

Subchapter E.  Personal Representative; Bond

 

§ 3171.  Individual estate.

§ 3172.  Register's responsibility.

§ 3173.  Fiduciary estate.

§ 3174.  When not required.

§ 3175.  Requiring or changing amount of bond.

 

Subchapter F.  Personal Representative; Revocation of Letters; Removal and Discharge

 

§ 3181.  Revocation of letters.

§ 3182.  Grounds for removal.

§ 3183.  Procedure for and effect of removal.

§ 3184.  Discharge of personal representative and surety.

 

Chapter 33.  Administration and Personal Representatives

 

Subchapter A.  Inventory

 

§ 3301.  Duty of personal representative.

§ 3302.  Valuations.

§ 3303.  Supplemental inventory.

§ 3304.  Claims against personal representative.

§ 3305.  Objections to inventory.

 

Subchapter B.  Personal Representatives; Powers, Duties and Liabilities

 

§ 3311.  Possession of real and personal estate; exception.

§ 3312.  Renunciation of right to administer property.

§ 3313.  Liability insurance.

§ 3314.  Continuation of business.

§ 3315.  Incorporation of estate's business.

§ 3316.  Investment of funds.

§ 3316.1. Set-aside.

§ 3317.  Claims against co-fiduciary.

§ 3318.  Revival of judgments against personal representative.

§ 3319.  Power of attorney; delegation of power over subscription rights and fractional shares; authorized delegations.

§ 3320.  Voting stock by proxy.

§ 3321.  Nominee registration; corporate fiduciary as agent; deposit of securities in a clearing corporation; book-entry securities.

§ 3322.  Acceptance of deed in lieu of foreclosure.

§ 3323.  Compromise of controversies.

§ 3324.  Death or incapacity of fiduciary.

§ 3325.  Administrator C.T.A.

§ 3326.  Administrator D.B.N. and D.B.N.C.T.A.

§ 3327.  Surviving or remaining personal representatives.

§ 3328.  Disagreement of personal representatives.

§ 3329.  Effect of revocation of letters, probate of will, later will or codicil.

§ 3330.  Notice of devise or bequest to corporation or association.

§ 3331.  Liability of personal representative on contracts.

§ 3332.  Inherent powers and duties.

 

Subchapter C.  Sales, Pledges, Mortgages, Leases, Options and Exchanges

 

§ 3351.  Power to sell.

§ 3352.  Power to lease.

§ 3353.  Order of court.

§ 3354.  Power given in governing instrument.

§ 3355.  Restraint of sale.

§ 3356.  Purchase by personal representative.

§ 3357.  Title of purchaser.

§ 3358.  Collateral attack.

§ 3359.  Record of proceedings; county where real estate lies.

§ 3360.  Contracts, inadequacy of consideration or better offer; brokers' commissions.

 

Subchapter D.  Abatement, Survival and Control of Actions

 

§ 3371.  Actions which survive.

§ 3372.  Substitution of personal representative in pending action or proceedings.

§ 3373.  Action by or against personal representative.

§ 3374.  Death or removal of fiduciary.

§ 3375.  Abatement of action for failure to take out letters.

§ 3376.  Limitations against debt due estate.

§ 3377.  Execution on judgments.

 

Subchapter E.  Claims; Charges; Rights of Creditors

 

§ 3381.  Liens and charges existing at death not impaired.

§ 3382.  Judgments which are liens at death.

§ 3383.  Statutes of limitations; claims not barred at death.

§ 3384.  Notice of claim.

§ 3384.1. Notice after settlor of revocable trust has died.

§ 3385.  Limitation upon claims.

§ 3386.  Failure to present claim at audit.

§ 3387.  Claims not due; certain to become due.

§ 3388.  Claims not certain to become due.

§ 3389.  Claims subject to litigation in other courts.

§ 3390.  Specific performance of contracts.

§ 3391.  Proceeding against personal representative.

§ 3392.  Classification and order of payment.

§ 3393.  Notice to Commonwealth and political subdivisions.

 

Chapter 35.  Accounts and Distribution

 

Subchapter A.  Accounts

 

§ 3501.  Accounting required (Repealed).

§ 3501.1. Accounting by personal representative.

§ 3501.2. Annexation of account of terminated trust, guardianship or agency.

§ 3502.  Where filed.

§ 3503.  Notice to parties in interest.

§ 3504.  Representation of parties in interest (Repealed).

 

Subchapter B.  Audits

 

§ 3511.  Audits in counties having separate orphans' court division.

§ 3512.  Audits in counties having no separate orphans' court division.

§ 3513.  Statement of proposed distribution.

§ 3514.  Confirmation of account and approval of proposed distribution.

 

Subchapter C.  Review

 

§ 3521.  Rehearing; relief granted.

 

Subchapter D.  Distribution

 

§ 3531.  Estates not exceeding $50,000.

§ 3532.  At risk of personal representative.

§ 3533.  Award upon final confirmation of account.

§ 3534.  Distribution in kind.

§ 3534.1. Cost of distribution of tangible personal property.

§ 3535.  Delivery of possession of real estate.

§ 3536.  Recording and registering decrees awarding real estate.

§ 3537.  Compensation.

§ 3538.  Distributions involving persons born out of wedlock.

§ 3539.  Change in law after pattern of distribution established.

§ 3540.  Absentee and additional distributees.

 

Subchapter E.  Rights of Distributees

 

§ 3541.  Order of abatement.

§ 3542.  Contribution.

§ 3543.  Income on distributive shares.

§ 3544.  Liability of personal representative for interest.

§ 3545.  Transcripts of balances due by personal representative.

§ 3546.  Determination of title to decedent's interest in real estate.

 

Subchapter F.  Legacies, Annuities, and Other Charges

 

§ 3551.  Enforcement of payment.

§ 3552.  Discharge of portion of property from charges payable in the future.

§ 3553.  Discharge of property from lien of charge.

§ 3554.  Presumption of payment, release or extinguishment.

 

Chapter 37.  Apportionment of Death Taxes

 

§ 3701.  Power of decedent.

§ 3702.  Equitable apportionment of Federal estate tax.

§ 3703.  Apportionment of Pennsylvania inheritance tax.

§ 3704.  Apportionment of Pennsylvania estate tax.

§ 3705.  Apportionment of Federal generation-skipping tax.

§ 3706.  Enforcement of contribution or exoneration of Federal estate tax.

 

Chapter 41.  Foreign Fiduciaries

 

Subchapter A.  Powers and Duties

 

§ 4101.  In general.

§ 4102.  Powers with respect to securities and bank accounts.

§ 4103.  Service of process (Repealed).

§ 4104.  Proof of authority in court proceedings.

§ 4105.  Effect of local proceedings.

 

Subchapter B.  Distributions to Foreign Fiduciaries

 

§ 4111.  To foreign personal representative.

§ 4112.  To foreign trustee, guardian or committee.

 

Subchapter C.  Transfer of Administration

 

§ 4121.  Award to foreign guardian when minor or incapacitated person becomes a nonresident.

 

Chapter 43.  Temporary Fiduciaries

 

§ 4301.  Appointment of temporary fiduciary.

§ 4302.  Petition for relief; joinder of parties; notice.

§ 4303.  Security by substituted fiduciaries; duties and responsibilities.

§ 4304.  Duration of decree; impeachment of acts.

§ 4305.  Fiduciaries temporarily relieved of duties and liabilities.

§ 4306.  Power to control, remove, discharge and settle accounts.

 

Chapter 45.  Sureties

 

Subchapter A.  Rights in Administration

 

§ 4501.  Agreement concerning deposit of assets.

§ 4502.  Notice.

§ 4503.  Participation in administration.

§ 4504.  Information from fiduciary; accounting.

§ 4505.  Release of surety before discharge of fiduciary.

 

Subchapter B.  Enforcement of Bond

 

§ 4521.  Suits on bonds.

§ 4522.  Service of process on nonresident surety (Repealed).

 

Chapter 51.  Minors

 

Subchapter A.  Small Estates

 

§ 5101.  When guardian unnecessary.

§ 5102.  Power of natural guardian.

§ 5103.  Sequestered deposit.

 

Subchapter B.  Appointment of Guardian

 

§ 5111.  County of appointment.

§ 5112.  Persons not qualified to be appointed by the court.

§ 5113.  Persons preferred in appointment.

§ 5114.  Service of process on nonresident guardian (Repealed).

§ 5115.  Appointment of guardian in conveyance.

§ 5116.  Orphan beneficiaries, charitable uses or trusts; administration, cities of first class.

 

Subchapter C.  Bond

 

§ 5121.  Necessity, form and amount.

§ 5122.  When bond not required.

§ 5123.  Requiring or changing amount of bond.

 

Subchapter D.  Removal and Discharge

 

§ 5131.  Grounds and procedure.

 

Subchapter E.  Powers, Duties and Liabilities; in General

 

§ 5141.  Possession of real and personal property.

§ 5142.  Inventory.

§ 5143.  Abandonment of property.

§ 5144.  Powers, duties and liabilities identical with personal representatives.

§ 5145.  Investments.

§ 5146.  Guardian named in conveyance.

§ 5147.  Proceedings against guardian.

 

Subchapter F.  Sales, Pledges, Mortgages, Leases, Options and Exchanges

 

§ 5151.  Power to sell personal property.

§ 5152.  Power to lease.

§ 5153.  Provisions identical to other estates.

§ 5154.  Title of purchaser.

§ 5155.  Order of court.

 

Subchapter G.  Accounts, Audits, Reviews, Distribution

 

§ 5161.  When accounting filed.

§ 5162.  Where accounts filed.

§ 5163.  Notice, audits, reviews and distribution.

§ 5163.1. Distribution to personal representative (Repealed).

§ 5164.  Distributions for support and education.

§ 5165.  Notice to guardian or guardian ad litem.

§ 5166.  Death of minor.

§ 5167.  Failure to present claim at audit.

 

Chapter 53.  Pennsylvania Uniform Transfers to Minors Act

 

§ 5301.  Short title of chapter and definitions.

§ 5302.  Scope and jurisdiction.

§ 5303.  Nomination of custodian.

§ 5304.  Transfer by gift or exercise of power of appointment.

§ 5305.  Transfer authorized by will or trust.

§ 5306.  Other transfer by fiduciary.

§ 5307.  Transfer by obligor.

§ 5308.  Receipt for custodial property.

§ 5309.  Manner of creating custodial property and effecting transfer.

§ 5310.  Single custodianship.

§ 5311.  Validity and effect of transfer.

§ 5312.  Care of custodial property.

§ 5313.  Powers of custodian.

§ 5314.  Use of custodial property.

§ 5315.  Expenses, compensation and bond of custodian.

§ 5316.  Exemption of third person from liability.

§ 5317.  Liability to third persons.

§ 5318.  Renunciation, resignation, death or removal of custodian.

§ 5319.  Accounting by and determination of liability of

custodian.

§ 5320.  Termination of custodianship.

§ 5321.  Delay in transfer of custodial property after minor attains age 21.

 

Chapter 54.  Health Care

 

Subchapter A.  General Provisions

 

§ 5421.  Applicability.

§ 5422.  Definitions.

§ 5423.  Legislative findings and intent.

§ 5424.  Compliance.

§ 5425.  Conflicting advance health care directives.

§ 5426.  Death not suicide or homicide.

§ 5427.  Life insurance.

§ 5428.  Health care instruments optional.

§ 5429.  Pregnancy.

§ 5430.  Effect of divorce.

§ 5431.  Liability.

§ 5432.  Criminal penalties.

§ 5433.  Forms.

§ 5434.  Construction.

 

Subchapter B.  Living Wills

 

§ 5441.  Short title of subchapter.

§ 5442.  Execution.

§ 5443.  When living will operative.

§ 5444.  Revocation.

§ 5445.  Emergency medical services.

§ 5446.  Validity.

§ 5447.  Form.

 

Subchapter C.  Health Care Agents and Representatives

 

§ 5451.  Short title of subchapter.

§ 5452.  Execution.

§ 5453.  Requirements and options.

§ 5454.  When health care power of attorney operative.

§ 5455.  Appointment of health care agents.

§ 5456.  Authority of health care agent.

§ 5457.  Countermand.

§ 5458.  Amendment.

§ 5459.  Revocation.

§ 5460.  Relation of health care agent to court-appointed guardian and other agents.

§ 5461.  Decisions by health care representative.

§ 5462.  Duties of attending physician and health care provider.

§ 5463.  Effect on other State law.

§ 5464.  Validity.

§ 5465.  Form.

 

Subchapter D.  Combined Form

 

§ 5471.  Example.

 

Subchapter E.  Out-of-Hospital Nonresuscitation

 

§ 5481.  Short title of subchapter.

§ 5482.  Legislative findings and intent.

§ 5483.  Definitions.

§ 5484.  Orders, bracelets and necklaces.

§ 5485.  Revocation.

§ 5486.  Absence of order, bracelet or necklace.

§ 5487.  Emergency medical services.

§ 5488.  Advisory committee.

 

Chapter 54A.  Out-of-Hospital Nonresuscitation (Deleted by amendment)

 

§ 54A01 - § 54A13 (Deleted by amendment).

 

Chapter 55.  Incapacitated Persons

 

Subchapter A.  General Provisions

 

§ 5501.  Meaning of incapacitated person.

§ 5502.  Purpose of chapter.

 

Subchapter B.  Small Estates

 

§ 5505.  Provisions similar to small estates of minors.

 

Subchapter C.  Appointment of Guardian; Bonds; Removal and Discharge

 

§ 5511.  Petition and hearing; independent evaluation.

§ 5512.  County of appointment; qualifications.

§ 5512.1. Determination of incapacity and appointment of guardian.

§ 5512.2. Review hearing.

§ 5512.3. Annual report.

§ 5513.  Emergency guardian.

§ 5514.  To fill vacancy; co-guardian.

§ 5515.  Provisions similar to other estates.

§ 5516.  Fiduciary estate.

§ 5517.  Adjudication of capacity and modification of existing orders.

§ 5518.  Evidence of incapacity.

§ 5518.1. Cross-examination of witnesses.

 

Subchapter D.  Powers, Duties and Liabilities of Guardians

 

§ 5521.  Provisions concerning powers, duties and liabilities.

§ 5522.  Power to lease.

§ 5523.  Collateral attack.

§ 5524.  Effect of determination of incapacity.

§ 5525.  Notice to Commonwealth and political subdivisions.

 

Subchapter E.  Accounts, Audits, Reviews and Distribution

 

§ 5531.  When accounting filed.

§ 5532.  Where accounts filed.

§ 5533.  Notice, audits, reviews and distribution.

§ 5533.1. Account of personal representative of deceased incompetent (Repealed).

§ 5534.  Recognition of claims.

§ 5535.  Disposition of trust income.

§ 5536.  Distributions of income and principal during incapacity.

§ 5537.  Reserve for funeral.

 

Subchapter F.  Guardianship Support

 

§ 5551.  Guardianship support agencies; legislative intent.

§ 5552.  Services to individuals whose decision-making ability

is impaired.

§ 5553.  Guardianship services.

§ 5554.  Services to courts, guardians and others.

§ 5555.  Costs and compensation.

 

Chapter 56.  Powers of Attorney

 

§ 5601.  General provisions.

§ 5601.1. Powers of attorney presumed durable.

§ 5601.2. Special rules for gifts (Repealed).

§ 5601.3. Agent's duties.

§ 5601.4. Authority that requires specific and general grant of authority.

§ 5602.  Form of power of attorney.

§ 5603.  Implementation of power of attorney.

§ 5604.  Durable powers of attorney.

§ 5605.  Power of attorney not revoked until notice.

§ 5606.  Proof of continuance of powers of attorney by

affidavit.

§ 5607.  Corporate agent.

§ 5608.  Acceptance of and reliance upon power of attorney.

§ 5608.1. Liability for refusal to accept power of attorney.

§ 5608.2. Activities through employees.

§ 5609.  Compensation and reimbursement for expenses.

§ 5610.  Account.

§ 5611.  Validity.

§ 5612.  Principles of law and equity.

 

Chapter 57.  Absentees and Presumed Decedents

 

§ 5701.  Proof of death.

§ 5702.  Trustee for absentee.

§ 5703.  Distribution of property of absentee.

§ 5704.  Notice to absentee.

§ 5705.  Search for absentee.

§ 5706.  Persons presumed dead from September 11, 2001, terrorist attack.

 

Chapter 58.  Mental Health Care

 

Subchapter A.  General Provisions

 

§ 5801.  Applicability.

§ 5802.  Definitions.

§ 5803.  Legislative findings and intent.

§ 5804.  Compliance.

§ 5805.  Liability.

§ 5806.  Penalties.

§ 5807.  Rights and responsibilities.

§ 5808.  Combining mental health instruments.

 

Subchapter B.  Mental Health Declarations

 

§ 5821.  Short title of subchapter.

§ 5822.  Execution.

§ 5823.  Form.

§ 5824.  Operation.

§ 5825.  Revocation.

§ 5826.  Amendment.

 

Subchapter C.  Mental Health Powers of Attorney

 

§ 5831.  Short title of subchapter.

§ 5832.  Execution.

§ 5833.  Form.

§ 5834.  Operation.

§ 5835.  Appointment of mental health care agents.

§ 5836.  Authority of mental health care agent.

§ 5837.  Removal of agent.

§ 5838.  Effect of divorce.

§ 5839.  Revocation.

§ 5840.  Amendment.

§ 5841.  Relation of mental health care agent to court-appointed guardian and other agents.

§ 5842.  Duties of attending physician and mental health care provider.

§ 5843.  Construction.

§ 5844.  Conflicting provisions.

§ 5845.  Validity.

 

Chapter 59.  Uniform Adult Guardianship and Protective Proceedings Jurisdiction

 

Subchapter A.  General Provisions

 

§ 5901.  Short title of chapter.

§ 5902.  Definitions.

§ 5903.  International application of chapter.

§ 5904.  Communication between courts.

§ 5905.  Cooperation between courts.

§ 5906.  Taking testimony in another state.

 

Subchapter B.  Jurisdiction

 

§ 5911.  Definitions; significant connection factors.

§ 5912.  Exclusive basis.

§ 5913.  Jurisdiction.

§ 5914.  Special jurisdiction.

§ 5915.  Exclusive and continuing jurisdiction.

§ 5916.  Appropriate forum.

§ 5917.  Jurisdiction declined by reason of conduct.

§ 5918.  Notice of proceeding.

§ 5919.  Proceedings in more than one state.

 

Subchapter C.  Transfer of Guardianship or Conservatorship

 

§ 5921.  Transfer of guardianship or conservatorship to another state.

§ 5922.  Accepting guardianship or conservatorship transferred from another state.

 

Subchapter D.  Registration and Recognition of Orders from Other States

 

§ 5931.  Registration of guardianship orders.

§ 5932.  Registration of protective orders.

§ 5933.  Effect of registration.

Subchapter E.  Miscellaneous Provisions

 

§ 5991.  Uniformity of application and construction.

§ 5992.  Relation to Electronic Signatures in Global and National Commerce Act.

 

Chapter 61.  Estates

 

§ 6101.  Definitions.

§ 6102.  Termination of trusts (Deleted by amendment).

§ 6103.  Release or disclaimer of powers or interests.

§ 6104.  Rule against perpetuities.

§ 6105.  Rule against perpetuities; disposition when invalidity occurs.

§ 6106.  Income accumulations; when valid.

§ 6107.  Income accumulations; disposition when invalidity occurs.

§ 6107.1. Applicability of rule against perpetuities.

§ 6108.  Designation of beneficiaries of insurance or employee death benefits not testamentary.

§ 6109.  Combination of charitable trusts (Repealed).

§ 6110.  Administration of charitable interests (Deleted by amendment).

§ 6111.  Conveyances to defeat marital rights (Repealed).

§ 6111.1. Modification by divorce or pending divorce.

§ 6111.2. Effect of divorce or pending divorce on designation of beneficiaries.

§ 6112.  Spendthrift trusts (Deleted by amendment).

§ 6113.  Limited estates in personalty and in the proceeds of the conversion of real estate.

§ 6114.  Rules of interpretation.

§ 6115.  Estates pur autre vie.

§ 6116.  Estates in fee tail abolished.

§ 6117.  Rule in Shelley's case and doctrine of worthier title.

§ 6118.  Invalidity of certain gifts (Repealed).

 

Chapter 62.  Disclaimers

 

§ 6201.  Right to disclaim.

§ 6202.  Disclaimers by fiduciaries or agents.

§ 6203.  Interests subject to disclaimer.

§ 6204.  Filing, delivery and recording.

§ 6205.  Effect of disclaimer.

§ 6206.  Bar to disclaimer.

§ 6207.  Other statutes.

 

Chapter 63.  Multiple-Party Accounts

 

§ 6301.  Definitions.

§ 6302.  Applicability of chapter.

§ 6303.  Ownership during lifetime.

§ 6304.  Right of survivorship.

§ 6305.  Form of account.

§ 6306.  Accounts and transfers nontestamentary.

 

Chapter 64.  Transfer on Death Security Registration

 

§ 6401.  Definitions.

§ 6402.  Registration in beneficiary form.

§ 6403.  Law applicable to registration.

§ 6404.  Origination of registration in beneficiary form.

§ 6405.  Form of registration in beneficiary form.

§ 6406.  Effect of registration in beneficiary form.

§ 6407.  Ownership on death of owner.

§ 6408.  Protection of registering entity.

§ 6409.  Nontestamentary transfer on death.

§ 6410.  Terms, conditions and forms for registration.

§ 6411.  Transfers of securities and security accounts.

§ 6412.  Construction of chapter.

§ 6413.  Application of chapter.

 

Chapter 71.  Trust Estates (Deleted by amendment)

 

Subchapters A through G (Deleted by amendment)

 

Chapter 72.  Prudent Investor Rule

 

§ 7201.  Definitions.

§ 7202.  Default rule.

§ 7203.  Prudent investor rule.

§ 7204.  Diversification.

§ 7205.  Retention of inception assets.

§ 7206.  Delegation.

§ 7207.  Retention of cash; temporary investments.

§ 7208.  Life insurance.

§ 7209.  Mutual funds.

§ 7210.  Common trust fund and mortgage investment fund.

§ 7211.  Further investment authority.

§ 7212.  Degree of care.

§ 7213.  Judgment of fiduciary's decisions.

§ 7214.  Language invoking chapter.

 

Chapter 73.  Municipalities Investments

 

§ 7301.  Definition of fiduciary.

§ 7302.  Authorized investments; in general.

§ 7303.  Government obligations.

§ 7304.  Obligations of Federal organizations.

§ 7305.  Obligations of Pennsylvania governmental organizations.

§ 7306.  Obligations of governmental organizations existing pursuant to the laws of Pennsylvania, other states and the District of Columbia.

§ 7307.  Corporate bonds.

§ 7308.  Mortgages.

§ 7309.  Fractional interests.

§ 7310.  Stocks.

§ 7310.1. Further investment authority.

§ 7311.  Real estate.

§ 7312.  Ground rent.

§ 7313.  Interest-bearing deposit.

§ 7314.  Common trust fund and mortgage investment fund.

§ 7314.1. Mutual funds.

§ 7315.  Retention of investments.

§ 7315.1. Retention of cash; temporary investments.

§ 7316.  Life insurance, building and loan shares, and similar assets.

§ 7317.  Investments which become unauthorized.

§ 7318.  Court direction.

§ 7319.  Directions of testator or settlor.

 

Chapter 75.  Limitations on Exercise of Trustee Powers and Powers of Beneficiaries to Appoint Trustees

 

§ 7501.  Legislative intent.

§ 7502.  Definitions.

§ 7503.  Application of chapter.

§ 7504.  Certain trustee powers not exercisable.

§ 7505.  Joint powers and appointment of nondisqualified substituted trustees.

§ 7506.  Certain powers of beneficiaries not exercisable.

 

Chapter 77.  Trusts

 

Subchapter A.  General Provisions

 

§ 7701.  Short title of chapter - UTC 101.

§ 7702.  Scope of chapter - UTC 102.

§ 7703.  Definitions - UTC 103.

§ 7704.  Knowledge - UTC 104.

§ 7705.  Trust instrument controls; mandatory rules - UTC 105.

§ 7706.  Common law of trusts; principles of equity - UTC 106.

§ 7707.  Governing law - UTC 107.

§ 7708.  Situs of trust.

§ 7709.  Methods and waiver of notice - UTC 109.

§ 7710.  Notice; others treated as beneficiaries - UTC 110.

§ 7710.1.  Nonjudicial settlement agreements - UTC 111.

§ 7710.2.  Rules of construction - UTC 112.

 

Subchapter B.  Judicial Proceedings

 

§ 7711.  Role of court in administration of trust - UTC 201.

§ 7712.  Jurisdiction over trustee and beneficiary - UTC 202.

§ 7713.  (Reserved).

§ 7714.  Venue - UTC 204.

 

Subchapter C.  Representation

 

§ 7721.  Scope; definition of trust matter.

§ 7722.  Representation of parties in interest in general.

§ 7723.  Representatives and persons represented.

§ 7724.  Appointment of representative.

§ 7725.  Notice of representation.

§ 7726.  Representation ineffective if person objects.

 

Subchapter D.  Creation, Validity, Modification and Termination of Trust

 

§ 7731.  Creation of trust - UTC 401.

§ 7732.  Requirements for creation - UTC 402.

§ 7733.  Written trusts created in other jurisdictions - UTC 403.

§ 7734.  Trust purposes - UTC 404.

§ 7735.  Charitable purposes; enforcement - UTC 405.

§ 7736.  Creation of trust induced by fraud, duress or undue influence - UTC 406.

§ 7737.  Oral trusts unenforceable.

§ 7738.  Trust for care of animal - UTC 408.

§ 7739.  Noncharitable trust without ascertainable beneficiary - UTC 409.

§ 7740.  Termination of trusts; proceedings for termination or modification of trusts - UTC 410.

§ 7740.1. Modification or termination of noncharitable irrevocable trust by consent - UTC 411.

§ 7740.2. Modification or termination of noncharitable irrevocable trust by court - UTC 412.

§ 7740.3. Charitable trusts - UTC 413.

§ 7740.4. Modification or termination of noncharitable trust - UTC 414.

§ 7740.5. Reformation to correct mistakes - UTC 415.

§ 7740.6. Modification to achieve settlor's tax objectives - UTC 416.

§ 7740.7. Division of trusts.

§ 7740.8. Combination of trusts.

 

Subchapter E.  Creditor's Claims; Spendthrift and Discretionary Trusts

 

§ 7741.  Rights of beneficiary's creditor or assignee - UTC 501.

§ 7742.  Spendthrift provision - UTC 502.

§ 7743.  Exceptions to spendthrift provision - UTC 503.

§ 7744.  Discretionary trusts; effect of standard - UTC 504.

§ 7745.  Creditor's claim against settlor - UTC 505(a).

§ 7746.  Overdue distribution - UTC 506.

§ 7747.  Personal obligations of trustee - UTC 507.

§ 7748.  Property subject to power of withdrawal - UTC 505(b).

 

Subchapter F.  Revocable Trusts

 

§ 7751.  Capacity of settlor of revocable trust - UTC 601.

§ 7752.  Revocation or amendment of revocable trust - UTC 602.

§ 7753.  Trustee's duties; powers of withdrawal - UTC 603.

§ 7754.  Actions contesting validity of revocable trust.

§ 7755.  Claims and distribution after settlor's death.

 

Subchapter G.  Office of Trustee

 

§ 7761.  Accepting or declining trusteeship - UTC 701.

§ 7762.  Trustee's bond - UTC 702.

§ 7763.  Cotrustees - UTC 703.

§ 7764.  Vacancy in trusteeship; appointment of successor - UTC 704.

§ 7765.  Resignation of trustee; filing resignation.

§ 7766.  Removal of trustee - UTC 706.

§ 7767.  Delivery of property by former trustee - UTC 707.

§ 7768.  Compensation of trustee - UTC 708.

§ 7769.  Reimbursement of expenses - UTC 709.

§ 7770.  Liability of successor trustee.

 

Subchapter H.  Duties and Powers of Trustee

 

§ 7771.  Duty to administer trust - UTC 801.

§ 7772.  Duty of loyalty - UTC 802.

§ 7773.  Impartiality - UTC 803.

§ 7774.  Prudent administration - UTC 804.

§ 7775.  Costs of administration - UTC 805.

§ 7776.  Trustee's skills - UTC 806.

§ 7777.  Delegation by trustee.

§ 7778.  Powers to direct - UTC 808.

§ 7779.  Control and protection of trust property - UTC 809.

§ 7780.  Record keeping and identification of trust property - UTC 810.

§ 7780.1. Enforcement and defense of claims - UTC 811.

§ 7780.2. (Reserved).

§ 7780.3. Duty to inform and report.

§ 7780.4. Discretionary powers.

§ 7780.5. Powers of trustees - UTC 815.

§ 7780.6. Illustrative powers of trustee.

§ 7780.7. Distribution upon termination.

 

Subchapter I.  Liability of Trustees and Rights of Persons Dealing with Trustees

 

§ 7781.  Remedies for breach of trust - UTC 1001.

§ 7782.  Damages for breach of trust - UTC 1002.

§ 7783.  Damages in absence of breach - UTC 1003.

§ 7784.  (Reserved).

§ 7785.  Limitation of action against trustee.

§ 7786.  Reliance on trust instrument - UTC 1006.

§ 7787.  Event affecting administration or distribution - UTC 1007.

§ 7788.  Exculpation of trustee - UTC 1008.

§ 7789.  Beneficiary's consent, release or ratification - UTC 1009.

§ 7790.  Limitation on personal liability of trustee - UTC 1010.

§ 7790.1. Interest as general partner - UTC 1011.

§ 7790.2. Protection of person dealing with trustee - UTC 1012.

§ 7790.3. Certification of trust - UTC 1013.

 

Subchapter J.  Miscellaneous Provisions

 

§ 7791.  Abandonment of property.

§ 7792.  Powers, duties and liabilities identical with personal representatives.

§ 7793.  Effect of removal, or of probate of later will or codicil.

§ 7794.  Title of purchaser.

§ 7795.  Reports for school district trustees.

§ 7796.  Jurisdiction.

§ 7797.  Filing accounts.

§ 7798.  Failure to present claim at audit.

§ 7799.  Income on distributive shares.

§ 7799.1. Annexation of account of distributed estate or trust.

§ 7799.2. Accounts, audits and distributions.

§ 7799.3. Pooled trusts for persons with disabilities.

 

Chapter 81.  Principal and Income

 

Subchapter A.  Preliminary Provisions; Power to Adjust; Power to Convert to Unitrust

 

§ 8101.  Short title of chapter.

§ 8102.  Definitions.

§ 8103.  Fiduciary duties; general principles.

§ 8104.  Trustee's power to adjust.

§ 8105.  Power to convert to unitrust.

§ 8106.  Judicial control of discretionary powers.

§ 8107.  Express trusts.

§ 8108.  (Reserved).

§ 8109.  (Reserved).

§ 8110.  (Reserved).

§ 8111.  (Reserved).

§ 8112.  (Reserved).

§ 8113.  Charitable trusts.

 

Subchapter B.  Decedent's Estate or Terminating Income Interest

 

§ 8121.  Determination and distribution of net income.

§ 8122.  Distribution to residuary and remainder beneficiaries.

 

Subchapter C.  Apportionment at Beginning and End of Income Interest

 

§ 8131.  When right to income begins and ends.

§ 8132.  Apportionment of receipts and disbursements when decedent dies or income interest begins.

§ 8133.  Apportionment when income interest ends.

 

Subchapter D.  Allocation of Receipts During Administration of Trust

 

§ 8141.  Character of receipts.

§ 8142.  Distribution from trust or estate.

§ 8143.  Business and other activities conducted by trustee.

§ 8144.  Principal receipts.

§ 8145.  Rental property.

§ 8146.  Obligation to pay money.

§ 8147.  Insurance policies and similar contracts.

§ 8148.  Insubstantial allocations not required.

§ 8149.  Retirement benefits, individual retirement accounts, deferred compensation, annuities and similar payments.

§ 8150.  Liquidating asset.

§ 8151.  Minerals, water and other natural resources.

§ 8152.  Timber.

§ 8153.  Property not productive of income.

§ 8154.  Derivatives and options.

§ 8155.  Asset-backed securities.

 

Subchapter E.  Allocation of Disbursements During Administration of Trust

 

§ 8161.  Mandatory disbursements from income.

§ 8162.  Mandatory disbursements from principal.

§ 8163.  Discretionary allocation of disbursements.

§ 8164.  Transfers from income to principal for depreciation.

§ 8165.  Transfers from income to reimburse principal.

§ 8166.  Income taxes.

§ 8167.  Adjustments between principal and income because of taxes.

 

Subchapters F and G (Reserved)

 

Subchapter H.  Miscellaneous Provisions

 

§ 8191.  Uniformity of application and construction.

 

Chapter 82.  Revised Price Act (Repealed)

 

§ 8201 - § 8234 (Repealed).

 

Chapter 83.  Inalienable Property

 

§ 8301.  Powers of court to authorize sale, etc. of real property.

§ 8302.  Venue where real property is wholly in one county.

§ 8303.  Venue where real property is in more than one county.

§ 8304.  Procedure.

§ 8305.  Sale of real property subject to future inalienable interests; disposition of proceeds.

§ 8306.  Title of purchaser.

 

Chapter 84.  Military Service

 

Subchapter A.  Fiduciaries in Military Service (Repealed)

 

§ 8401 - § 8407 (Repealed).

 

Subchapter B.  Notice to Veterans' Bureau

 

§ 8411.  Notice of action to United States Veterans' Bureau.

§ 8412.  Veterans' Bureau's objection to account; costs.

 

Chapter 85.  Simultaneous Death

 

§ 8501.  No sufficient evidence of survivorship.

§ 8502.  Beneficiaries of another person's disposition of property.

§ 8503.  Joint tenants or tenants by the entirety.

§ 8504.  Insurance policies.

§ 8505.  Chapter does not apply if decedent provides otherwise.

 

Chapter 86.  Anatomical Gifts

 

Subchapter A.  General Provisions

 

§ 8601.  Definitions.

 

Subchapter B.  Express Anatomical Gifts

 

§ 8611.  Persons who may execute anatomical gift.

§ 8612.  Persons who may become donees; purposes for which anatomical gifts may be made.

§ 8613.  Manner of executing anatomical gifts.

§ 8614.  Delivery of document of gift.

§ 8615.  Amendment or revocation of gift.

§ 8616.  Rights and duties at death.

§ 8617.  Requests for anatomical gifts.

§ 8618.  Voluntary contribution system (Repealed).

§ 8619.  Use of driver's license or identification card to indicate organ or tissue donation.

§ 8620.  Police and emergency personnel responsibilities.

§ 8621.  The Governor Robert P. Casey Memorial Organ and Tissue Donation Awareness Trust Fund contributions.

§ 8622.  The Governor Robert P. Casey Memorial Organ and Tissue Donation Awareness Trust Fund.

§ 8623.  Confidentiality requirement.

§ 8624.  Prohibited activities.

 

Subchapter C.  Corneal Transplants

 

§ 8641.  Removal of corneal tissue permitted under certain circumstances.

§ 8642.  Limitation of liability.

 

Chapter 87.  Employee Benefits

 

§ 8701.  Existing trusts may continue for term necessary to accomplish purpose.

§ 8702.  Combining trusts.

§ 8703.  Transfer of assets to corporate trustee; investments; common trust funds.

§ 8704.  Payments upon employee's death; third party claims.

 

Chapter 88.  Slayers

 

§ 8801.  Definition of terms.

§ 8802.  Slayer not to acquire property as result of slaying.

§ 8803.  Descent, distribution, dower, courtesy, and statutory rights as survivor.

§ 8804.  Legacies.

§ 8805.  Tenancies by the entirety.

§ 8806.  Joint tenants, joint owners and joint obligees.

§ 8807.  Reversions and vested remainders.

§ 8808.  Interests dependent on survivorship or continuance of life.

§ 8809.  Contingent remainders and executory or other future interests.

§ 8810.  Powers of appointment.

§ 8811.  Proceeds of insurance.

§ 8812.  Bona fide payment by insurance company or obligor.

§ 8813.  Bona fide purchasers.

§ 8814.  Record of conviction as evidence.

§ 8814.1. Preadjudication rule.

§ 8815.  Broad construction; policy of State.

20c101h

 

 

TITLE 20

DECEDENTS, ESTATES AND FIDUCIARIES

 

Chapter

 1.  Short Title and Definitions

 3.  Ownership of Property; Legal Title and Equitable Estate

 7.  Orphans' Court Divisions

 9.  Register of Wills

21.  Intestate Succession

22.  Elective Share of Surviving Spouse

25.  Wills

27.  Contractual Arrangements Relating to Succession

28.  Formula Clauses for Federal Tax Purposes

31.  Dispositions Independent of Letters; Family Exemption; Probate of Wills and Grant of Letters

33.  Administration and Personal Representatives

35.  Accounts and Distribution

37.  Apportionment of Death Taxes

41.  Foreign Fiduciaries

43.  Temporary Fiduciaries

45.  Sureties

51.  Minors

53.  Pennsylvania Uniform Transfers to Minors Act

54.  Health Care

54A. Out-of-Hospital Nonresuscitation (Deleted by amendment)

55.  Incapacitated Persons

56.  Powers of Attorney

57.  Absentees and Presumed Decedents

58.  Mental Health Care

59.  Uniform Adult Guardianship and Protective Proceedings Jurisdiction

61.  Estates

62.  Disclaimers

63.  Multiple-Party Accounts

64.  Transfer on Death Security Registration

71.  Trust Estates (Deleted by amendment)

72.  Prudent Investor Rule

73.  Municipalities Investments

75.  Limitations on Exercise of Trustee Powers and Powers of Beneficiaries to Appoint Trustees

77.  Trusts

81.  Principal and Income

82.  Revised Price Act (Repealed)

83.  Inalienable Property

84.  Military Service

85.  Simultaneous Death

86.  Anatomical Gifts

87.  Employee Benefits

88.  Slayers

 

Enactment.  Unless otherwise noted, the provisions of Title 20 were added June 30, 1972, P.L.508, No.164, effective July 1, 1972.

Special Provisions in Appendix.  See section 4 of Act 164 of 1972 in the appendix to this title for special provision relating to effective date and savings provisions of title and preservation of rights and liabilities.

Title Heading.  The heading of Title 20 was amended June 30, 1972, P.L.508, No.164; December 10, 1974, P.L.816, No.271; and December 10, 1974, P.L.867, No.293.

 

 

CHAPTER 1

SHORT TITLE AND DEFINITIONS

 

Sec.

101.  Short title.

102.  Definitions.

 

Enactment.  Chapter 1 was added June 30, 1972, P.L.508, No.164, effective July 1, 1972.

20c101s

§ 101.  Short title.

This title shall be known and may be cited as the "Probate, Estates and Fiduciaries Code." Each chapter herein shall be known and may be cited by its chapter heading.

20c102s

§ 102.  Definitions.

Subject to additional definitions contained in subsequent provisions of this title which are applicable to specific provisions of this title, the following words and phrases when used in this title shall have, unless the context clearly indicates otherwise, the meanings given to them in this section:

"Clerk."  Means the clerk of the orphans' court division of the court of common pleas.

"Court, orphans' court, or orphans' court division."  Means the court of common pleas exercising the jurisdiction referred to in this title through its orphans' court division.

"Fiduciary."  Includes personal representatives, guardians, and trustees, whether domiciliary or ancillary, individual or corporate, subject to the jurisdiction of the orphans' court division.

"First complete advertisement of the grant of letters."  In counties having no legal publication, means the first of the three times that the grant of letters is advertised in a newspaper, and, in counties having a legal publication, it means when it has been advertised, on at least one occasion, in both the newspaper and in the legal publication.

"Foreign fiduciary."  Means a personal representative, guardian of a minor or incapacitated person, trustee or one performing the functions of any such fiduciary, who is subject primarily to the control of the court of another jurisdiction and has not received ancillary authority in the Commonwealth.

"Foreign guardian."  Means a guardian, or one performing the function of a guardian, who is subject primarily to the control of the court of another jurisdiction and has not received ancillary authority in the Commonwealth.

"General rule or rule of court."  A rule or order promulgated by the governing authority, as defined in 42 Pa.C.S. § 102 (relating to definitions), of the unified judicial system.

"Guardian."  Means a fiduciary who has the care and management of the estate or person of a minor or an incapacitated person.

"Incapacitated person."  Means a person determined to be an incapacitated person under the provisions of Chapter 55 (relating to incapacitated persons).

"Letters."  Means letters testamentary or letters of administration of any description.

"Minor."  Means an individual under the age of 18 years.

"Personal representative."  Means an executor or administrator of any description.

"Register."  Means the register of wills having jurisdiction of granting of letters testamentary or of administration.

"Trust."  Means any trust, whether testamentary or inter vivos, subject to the jurisdiction of the orphans' court division.

"Will."  Means a written will, codicil or other testamentary writing.

20c102v

(Dec. 6, 1972, P.L.1461, No.331; July 9, 1976, P.L.551, No.135, eff. imd.; Apr. 28, 1978, P.L.202, No.53, eff. 60 days; Apr. 16, 1992, P.L.108, No.24, eff. 60 days)

 

1992 Amendment.  See section 21 of Act 24 in the appendix to this title for special provisions relating to applicability.

20c301h

 

 

CHAPTER 3

OWNERSHIP OF PROPERTY; LEGAL TITLE AND

EQUITABLE ESTATE

 

Sec.

301.  Title to real and personal estate of a decedent.

302.  Title to real and personal estate of an incapacitated person.

303.  Title to real and personal estate of a minor.

304.  Application of payments made to fiduciaries.

305.  Right to dispose of a decedent's remains.

 

Enactment.  Chapter 3 was added June 30, 1972, P.L.508, No.164, effective July 1, 1972.

20c301s

§ 301.  Title to real and personal estate of a decedent.

(a)  Personal estate.--Legal title to all personal estate of a decedent shall pass at his death to his personal representative, if any, as of the date of his death.

(b)  Real estate.--Legal title to all real estate of a decedent shall pass at his death to his heirs or devisees, subject, however, to all the powers granted to the personal representative by this title and lawfully by the will and to all orders of the court.

20c302s

§ 302.  Title to real and personal estate of an incapacitated person.

Legal title to all real estate and personal property of an incapacitated person shall remain in him, subject, however, to all the powers granted to his guardian by this title and lawfully by a governing instrument and to all orders of the court.

20c302v

(Apr. 16, 1992, P.L.108, No.24, eff. 60 days)

 

1992 Amendment.  See section 21 of Act 24 in the appendix to this title for special provisions relating to applicability.

20c303s

§ 303.  Title to real and personal estate of a minor.

Legal title to all real and personal property of a minor shall remain in him, subject, however, to all the powers granted to his guardian by this title and lawfully by a governing instrument and to all orders of the court.

20c304s

§ 304.  Application of payments made to fiduciaries.

A person who, in good faith, pays or transfers to a fiduciary any money or other property, which the fiduciary as such is authorized to receive, is not responsible for the proper application thereof by the fiduciary, and any right or title acquired from the fiduciary in consideration of the payment or transfer is not invalid in consequence of a misapplication by the fiduciary.

20c304v

(Oct. 12, 1984, P.L.929, No.182, eff. imd.)

 

1984 Amendment.  Act 182 added section 304. Section 15 of Act 182 provided that Act 182 shall apply to the estates of all decedents dying on or after the effective date of Act 182.

20c305s

§ 305.  Right to dispose of a decedent's remains.

(a)  General rule.--Except as specified in subsection (a.1), the determination of the final disposition of a decedent's remains shall be as set forth in this section unless otherwise specifically provided by waiver and agreement of the person entitled to make such determination under this section, subject to the provisions of a valid will executed by the decedent and section 8611(a) (relating to persons who may execute anatomical gift).

(a.1)  Exception for members of the armed forces.--The determination of the final disposition of a decedent's remains shall be as set forth in this section unless otherwise specifically provided by a DD Form 93 executed later in time than a valid will executed by the decedent or a waiver and agreement of the person entitled to make such determination under this section, subject to the provisions of section 8611(a).

(b)  Disposition of the remains of a deceased spouse.--Absent an allegation of enduring estrangement, incompetence, contrary intent or waiver and agreement which is proven by clear and convincing evidence, a surviving spouse shall have the sole authority in all matters pertaining to the disposition of the remains of the decedent.

(c)  Disposition of the remains of others.--If there is not a surviving spouse, absent an allegation of enduring estrangement, incompetence, contrary intent or waiver and agreement which is proven by clear and convincing evidence, the next of kin shall have sole authority in all matters pertaining to the disposition of the remains of the decedent.

(d)  Procedure.--Where a petition alleging enduring estrangement, incompetence, contrary intent or waiver and agreement is made within 48 hours of the death or discovery of the body of the decedent, whichever is later, a court may order that no final disposition of the decedent's remains take place until a final determination is made on the petition. Notice to each person with equal or higher precedence than the petitioner to the right to dispose of the decedent's remains and to his attorney if known and to the funeral home or other institution where the body is being held must be provided concurrently with the filing of the petition. A suitable bond may be required by the court.

(1)  If the court determines that clear and convincing evidence establishes enduring estrangement, incompetence, contrary intent or waiver and agreement, the court shall enter an appropriate order regarding the final disposition which may include appointing an attorney in fact to arrange the final disposition, with reasonable costs chargeable to the estate.

(2)  If two or more persons with equal standing as next of kin disagree on disposition of the decedent's remains, the authority to dispose shall be determined by the court, with preference given to the person who had the closest relationship with the deceased.

(3)  If the court determines that the petition is not supported by a clear and convincing evidence, the court may award attorney fees. An award of attorney fees shall constitute a setoff against any claim by the petitioner against the estate.

(e)  Definitions.--As used in this section, the following words and phrases shall have the meanings given to them in this subsection:

"Armed forces."  The armed forces of the United States, including a reserve component or the National Guard.

"Contrary intent."  An explicit and sincere expression, either verbal or written, of a decedent adult or emancipated minor prior to death and not subsequently revoked that a person other than the one authorized by this section determine the final disposition of his remains.

"DD Form 93."  A valid document or a successor form provided by the Department of Defense that is signed by a member of the armed forces and designates a person to direct the disposition of the remains of the person who signed the form.

"Enduring estrangement."  A physical and emotional separation from the deceased at the time of death of the person authorized by this section to determine the final disposition of the decedent's remains, which has existed for a period of time that clearly demonstrates an absence of due affection, trust and regard for the deceased.

"Next of kin."  The spouse and relatives by blood of the deceased in order that they be authorized to succeed to the deceased's estate under Chapter 21 (relating to intestate succession) as long as the person is an adult or an emancipated minor.

20c305v

(Nov. 17, 1998, P.L.786, No.99, eff. 60 days; July 2, 2013, P.L.254, No.45, eff. 60 days)

 

2013 Amendment.  Act 45 amended subsec. (a) and added subsec. (a.1) and the defs. of "armed forces" and "DD Form 93" in subsec. (e).

1998 Amendment.  Act 99 added section 305.

20c701h

 

 

CHAPTER 7

ORPHANS' COURT DIVISIONS

 

Subchapter

A.  Organization

B.  Jurisdiction

C.  Venue

D.  Judges (Repealed)

E.  Duties of the Clerk and Sheriff

F.  Masters, Auditors, Examiners, Guardians Ad Litem and

Trustees Ad Litem

G.  Procedure

 

Enactment.  Chapter 7 was added June 30, 1972, P.L.508, No.164, effective July 1, 1972.

Cross References.  Chapter 7 is referred to in sections 711, 7705 of this title.

 

 

SUBCHAPTER A

ORGANIZATION

 

Sec.

701.  Orphans' court divisions.

 

Enactment.  Subchapter A was added April 28, 1978, P.L.202, No.53, effective in 60 days.

Prior Provisions.  Former Subchapter A, which related to the same subject matter, was added June 30, 1972, P.L.508, No.164, and repealed April 28, 1978, P.L.202, No.53, effective in 60 days.

20c701s

§ 701.  Orphans' court divisions.

Orphans' court divisions shall be organized as provided by Title 42 (relating to judiciary and judicial procedure). Except as otherwise provided or prescribed by law, each orphans' court division shall possess the powers vested in the whole court.

20c711h

 

 

SUBCHAPTER B

JURISDICTION

 

Sec.

711.  Mandatory exercise of jurisdiction through orphans' court    division in general.

712.  Nonmandatory exercise of jurisdiction through orphans'    court division.

713.  Special provisions for Philadelphia County.

714.  Conflict of laws.

715.  Incidental powers (Repealed).

20c711s

§ 711.  Mandatory exercise of jurisdiction through orphans' court division in general.

Except as provided in section 712 (relating to nonmandatory exercise of jurisdiction through the orphans' court division) and section 713 (relating to special provisions for Philadelphia County), the jurisdiction of the court of common pleas over the following shall be exercised through its orphans' court division:

(1)  Decedents' estates.--The administration and distribution of the real and personal property of decedents' estates and the control of the decedent's burial.

(2)  Testamentary trusts.--The administration and distribution of the real and personal property of testamentary trusts, and the reformation and setting aside of any such trusts, whether created before or after the effective date of this chapter, except any testamentary trust created before the effective date of the Fiduciaries Act of 1917, jurisdiction of which was acquired by the court of common pleas prior to January 1, 1969 unless the president judge of such court orders the jurisdiction of the trust to be exercised through the orphans' court division.

(3)  Inter vivos trusts.--The administration and distribution of the real and personal property of inter vivos trusts, and the reformation or setting aside of any such trusts, whether created before or after the effective date of this chapter, except any inter vivos trust jurisdiction of which was acquired by the court of common pleas prior to January 1, 1969 unless the president judge of such court orders the jurisdiction of the trust to be exercised through the orphans' court division.

"Inter vivos trust" means an express trust other than a trust created by a will, taking effect during the lifetime or at or after the death of the settlor.

It includes:

(i)  a life insurance trust;

(ii)  a trust created under a deed, agreement, or declaration except as hereinafter excluded;

(iii)  a common trust fund or mortgage investment fund created by a corporate fiduciary for the investment of funds held by it as fiduciary or co-fiduciary;

(iv)  a tentative trust; and

(v)  similar trusts.

"Inter vivos trust" does not include:

(vi)  a resulting or constructive trust created by operation of law;

(vii)  a trust for creditors;

(viii)  an escrow relationship;

(ix)  a temporary trust to hold disputed property;

(x)  a principal and agent relationship;

(xi)  a trust primarily for the benefit of business employees, their families or appointees, under a stock bonus, pension, disability or death benefit, profit-sharing or other employee-benefit plan;

(xii)  a trust for bondholders;

(xiii)  a mortgagee in possession relationship;

(xiv)  a business trust, including a trust subject to 15 Pa.C.S. Ch. 95 (relating to business trusts); and

(xv)  similar trusts or fiduciary relationships.

(4)  Minors' estates.--The administration and distribution of the real and personal property of minors' estates.

(5)  Custodianships for minors' property.--Matters relating to custodianship of the property of minors, as provided by law.

(6)  Guardian of persons of minors.--The appointment, control and removal of the guardian of the person of any minor.

(7)  Adoptions.--Adoptions, subject to the provisions of section 713.

(8)  Custody of minors.--The determination of the right to the custody of a minor in connection with any proceeding for his adoption or for the appointment of a guardian of his person, except as provided in section 713.

(9)  Birth records.--Except as provided in section 713, all proceedings which may be necessary to be presented to a court for determination with regard to issues concerning recordation of birth and birth records or the alteration, amendment or modification of such birth records or the right to obtain a certified copy of the same. Whenever a person is entitled to take an appeal from the action of the Department of Health in connection with any matters concerning birth records the appeal shall be taken to the orphans' court division of the county in which the person is a resident. In all other matters in which a petition is addressed to a court in connection with matters of birth records, the filing of which petition is not in the nature of an appeal but is an original proceeding, shall be filed and determined by the orphans' court division of the county in which the petitioner resides.

(10)  Incapacitated persons' estates.--The administration and distribution of the real and personal property of the estates of incapacitated persons, except where jurisdiction thereof was acquired by the court of common pleas prior to January 1, 1969 unless the president judge of such court orders the jurisdiction of the estate to be exercised through the orphans' court division.

(11)  Absentees' and presumed decedents' estates.--The administration and distribution of the real and personal property of absent persons and of presumed decedents.

(12)  Fiduciaries.--The appointment, control, settlement of the accounts of, removal and discharge of, and allowance to and allocation of compensation among, all fiduciaries of estates and trusts, jurisdiction of which is exercised through the orphans' court division, except that the register shall continue to grant letters testamentary and of administration to personal representatives as heretofore.

(13)  Specific performance of contracts.--To enforce specifically the performance by either party of any agreement made by a decedent to purchase or sell real or personal property.

(14)  Legacies, annuities and charges.--Proceedings for the enforcement of legacies, annuities and charges placed on real or personal property by will, inter vivos trust, or decree of an orphans' court or orphans' court division or for the discharge of the lien thereof.

(15)  Construction of administrative power.--The construction of an administrative power as to real estate proposed to be exercised by a fiduciary of an estate or trust, jurisdiction of which is exercised through the orphans' court division.

(16)  Disposition of title to real estate to render it freely alienable.--The disposition of any interest in real estate of one disabled from dealing with it when title to it has been acquired by descent or will, or is in an estate or trust jurisdiction of which is exercised through the orphans' court division.

(17)  Title to personal property.--The adjudication of the title to personal property in the possession of the personal representative, or registered in the name of the decedent or his nominee, or alleged by the personal representative to have been in the possession of the decedent at the time of his death.

(18)  Appeals and proceedings from registers.--Appeals from and proceedings removed from registers.

(19)  Marriage licenses.--Marriage licenses, as provided by law.

(20)  Inheritance and estate taxes.--Matters relating to inheritance and estate taxes, as provided by law.

(21)  Nonprofit corporations.--The administration and proper application of funds awarded by an orphans' court or an orphans' court division to a nonprofit corporation heretofore or hereafter organized under the laws of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania for a charitable purpose at the direction of the orphans' court or orphans' court division or at the direction of a settlor or testator of a trust or estate, jurisdiction of which is exercised through the orphans' court division except as the administrative, presiding or president judge of such division disclaims the exercise of future jurisdiction thereof.

(22)  Agents.--All matters pertaining to the exercise of powers by agents acting under powers of attorney as provided in Subchapter C of Chapter 54 (relating to health care agents and representatives) or in Chapter 56 (relating to powers of attorney).

20c711v

(Dec. 10, 1974, P.L.867, No.293, eff. imd.; Dec. 21, 1988, P.L.1444, No.177, eff. Oct. 1, 1989; Apr. 16, 1992, P.L.108, No.24, eff. 60 days; Dec. 16, 1992, P.L.1163, No.152, eff. imd.; Oct. 12, 1999, P.L.422, No.39, eff. 60 days; Nov. 29, 2006, P.L.1484, No.169, eff. 60 days)

 

2006 Amendment.  Act 169 amended par. (22).

1992 Amendments.  Act 24 amended par. (10) and Act 152 amended par. (2). See section 21 of Act 24 in the appendix to this title for special provisions relating to applicability. See section 27(b) of Act 152 in the appendix to this title for special provisions relating to applicability.

1988 Amendment.  Act 177 amended par. (3).

1974 Amendment.  Act 293 amended the intro. par. and par. (10).

Cross References.  Section 711 is referred to in sections 712, 713 of this title; section 102 of Title 15 (Corporations and Unincorporated Associations); section 933 of Title 42 (Judiciary and Judicial Procedure).

20c712s

§ 712.  Nonmandatory exercise of jurisdiction through orphans' court division.

The jurisdiction of the court of common pleas over the following may be exercised through either its orphans' court division or other appropriate division:

(1)  Title to real estate.--The determination of the persons to whom the title to real estate of a decedent or of the creator of an estate or trust has passed by devise or descent or by the terms of the trust instrument where jurisdiction of such estate or trust is exercised through the orphans' court division: Provided, That nothing herein shall be construed to restrict the provisions of section 711 (relating to mandatory exercise of jurisdiction through orphans' court division in general) relating to distribution of real estate in an estate or trust.

(2)  Guardian of person.--The appointment, control and removal of the guardian of the person of any incapacitated person.

(3)  Other matters.--The disposition of any case where there are substantial questions concerning matters enumerated in section 711 and also matters not enumerated in that section.

(4)  Powers of attorney.--(Deleted by amendment).

20c712v

(Dec. 10, 1974, P.L.867, No.293, eff. imd.; July 9, 1976, P.L.551, No.135, eff. imd.; Apr. 28, 1978, P.L.77, No.37, eff. 60 days; Apr. 16, 1992, P.L.108, No.24, eff. 60 days; Dec. 1, 1994, P.L.655, No.102, eff. 60 days; Oct. 12, 1999, P.L.422, No.39, eff. 60 days)

 

1999 Amendment.  See section 13(8) of Act 39 in the appendix to this title for special provisions relating to applicability.

1994 Amendment. Section 10 of Act 102 provided that the amendment of par. (4) shall apply beginning with the effective date of Act 102.

1992 Amendment.  See section 21 of Act 24 in the appendix to this title for special provisions relating to applicability.

Cross References.  Section 712 is referred to in section 711 of this title.

20c713s

§ 713.  Special provisions for Philadelphia County.

The provisions of section 711 (relating to mandatory exercise of jurisdiction through orphans' court division in general), insofar as they relate to adoptions and birth records, shall not apply to Philadelphia County. In Philadelphia County the jurisdiction over adoptions and all proceedings which may be necessary to be presented to a court for determination with regard to issues concerning recordation of birth and birth records or the alteration, amendment or modification of such birth records or the right to obtain a certified copy of the same, shall be exercised through the family court division of the court of common pleas. Whenever a resident of Philadelphia is entitled to take an appeal from the action of the Department of Health in connection with any matters concerning birth records, the appeal shall be taken to the family court division of the court of common pleas of Philadelphia. In all other matters in which a petition is addressed to a court by a resident of Philadelphia in connection with matters of birth records, the filing of which petition is not in the nature of an appeal but is an original proceeding, the petition shall be determined by the family court division of the court of common pleas of Philadelphia.

20c713v

 

Cross References.  Section 713 is referred to in section 711 of this title; section 933 of Title 42 (Judiciary and Judicial Procedure).

20c714s

§ 714.  Conflict of laws.

Nothing in this chapter shall be construed to interfere with the rules of law applicable to the determination of the question whether Pennsylvania courts have jurisdiction of the subject matters enumerated in this chapter.

20c715s

§ 715.  Incidental powers (Repealed).

20c715v

 

1978 Repeal.  Section 715 was repealed April 28, 1978, P.L.202, No.53, effective in 60 days.

20c721h

 

 

SUBCHAPTER C

VENUE

 

Sec.

721.  Venue of decedents', minors' and incapacitated persons' estates.

722.  Venue of trust estates.

723.  Situs of testamentary trust (Deleted by amendment).

724.  Situs of inter vivos trust (Deleted by amendment).

725.  Change of situs; order of court (Deleted by amendment).

726.  Venue of nonprofit corporations.

727.  Venue of cemetery companies.

20c721s

§ 721.  Venue of decedents', minors' and incapacitated persons' estates.

When a Pennsylvania court has jurisdiction of a decedent's, a minor's, or an incapacitated person's estate, except as otherwise provided by law, the venue for all purposes shall be as follows:

(1)  Decedents' estates.--In the case of a decedent's estate, in the county where the letters are granted to the personal representative, and in the absence of such letters, then where the decedent had his last family or principal residence, and if the decedent had no domicile in the Commonwealth, then in any county where any of his property is located.

(2)  Minors' and incapacitated persons' estates.--In the case of a guardian of a minor or incapacitated person appointed by the court, in the county whose court appointed the guardian. In the case of a guardian of a minor or incapacitated person not appointed by the court, or when there is a minor's or incapacitated person's estate but no guardian, in the county whose court at the time proceedings are first initiated would have jurisdiction to appoint a guardian of the estate.

20c721v

(Dec. 10, 1974, P.L.867, No.293, eff. imd.; Apr. 16, 1992, P.L.108, No.24, eff. 60 days)

 

1992 Amendment.  See section 21 of Act 24 in the appendix to this title for special provisions relating to applicability.

20c722s

§ 722.  Venue of trust estates.

When a Pennsylvania court has jurisdiction of any trust, testamentary or inter vivos, except as otherwise provided by law, the venue for all purposes shall be in the county where at the time being is the situs of the trust. The situs of the trust shall remain in the county of the court which first assumed jurisdiction of the trust, unless and until such court shall order a change of situs under the provisions of this chapter.

20c723s

§ 723.  Situs of testamentary trust (Deleted by amendment).

20c723v

 

2006 Amendment.  Section 723 was deleted by amendment July 7, 2006, P.L.625, No.98, effective in 120 days.

20c724s

§ 724.  Situs of inter vivos trust (Deleted by amendment).

20c724v

 

2006 Amendment.  Section 724 was deleted by amendment July 7, 2006, P.L.625, No.98, effective in 120 days.

20c725s

§ 725.  Change of situs; order of court (Deleted by amendment).

20c725v

 

2006 Amendment.  Section 725 was deleted by amendment July 7, 2006, P.L.625, No.98, effective in 120 days.

20c726s

§ 726.  Venue of nonprofit corporations.

Except as otherwise prescribed by general rules, in exercising the jurisdiction of the court over the property or affairs of a domestic or foreign nonprofit corporation, the venue shall be in the county where the registered office of the corporation is located or deemed to be located for venue purposes or, in the absence of a registered office within this Commonwealth, in a county where any property held or controlled by the nonprofit corporation is located.

20c726v

(Apr. 28, 1978, P.L.77, No.37, eff. 60 days; Dec. 19, 1990, P.L.834, No.198, eff. imd.)

20c727s

§ 727.  Venue of cemetery companies.

Except as otherwise provided in Title 9 (relating to burial grounds) or prescribed by general rules, in exercising the jurisdiction of the court over the property or affairs of a domestic or foreign cemetery company in matters relating to burial grounds or to property held for the burial of the dead or for the care or adornment of burial grounds, the venue shall be in the county where the burial ground, or any part thereof is located or, in the absence of any involved burial grounds within this Commonwealth, in a county where any property held or controlled by the cemetery company is located.

20c727v

(Apr. 28, 1978, P.L.77, No.37, eff. 60 days; Dec. 19, 1990, P.L.834, No.198, eff. imd.)

20c731h

 

 

SUBCHAPTER D

JUDGES

(Repealed)

 

1978 Repeal.  Subchapter D (§§ 731 - 732) was repealed April 28, 1978, P.L.202, No.53, effective in two years as to section 731 and 60 days as to section 732.

20c741h

 

 

SUBCHAPTER E

DUTIES OF THE CLERK AND SHERIFF

 

Sec.

741.  Duties of the clerk (Repealed).

742.  Dockets (Repealed).

743.  Bill of costs (Repealed).

744.  Translation of foreign language documents (Repealed).

745.  Advertisement of accounts.

746.  Money paid into court (Repealed).

747.  Powers and duties of the sheriff (Repealed).

748.  Fees (Repealed).

 

1978 Repeal.  Subchapter E (except section 745(a) and (b)) was repealed April 28, 1978, P.L.202, No.53, effective in 60 days unless otherwise noted.

20c741s

§ 741.  Duties of the clerk (Repealed).

20c742s

§ 742.  Dockets (Repealed).

20c743s

§ 743.  Bill of costs (Repealed).

20c743v

 

1978 Repeal Note.  The repeal of section 743 is effective one year from April 28, 1978.

20c744s

§ 744.  Translation of foreign language documents (Repealed).

20c745s

§ 745.  Advertisement of accounts.

(a)  Requirement of notice; contents of notice.--The clerk of the orphans' court division shall give notice by advertisement of the time when accounts filed with him will be presented to the division for confirmation, stating in the advertisement the names and capacities of the respective accountants.

(b)  Manner of advertisement.--The notice shall be advertised at least once a week during the two weeks immediately preceding the time for presentation of the accounts to the division:

(1)  in the legal publication, if any, designated by rule of court for the publication of legal notices; and

(2)  in at least one newspaper of general circulation published within the county, and if no such newspaper is published in that county, then in one such newspaper published nearest to that county.

20c745v

(Apr. 28, 1978, P.L.202, No.53, eff. 1 year; Oct. 12, 1984, P.L.929, No.182, eff. imd.; Apr. 16, 1992, P.L.108, No.24, eff. 60 days)

 

1992 Amendment.  Act 24 amended subsec. (b). See section 21 of Act 24 in the appendix to this title for special provisions relating to applicability.

20c746s

§ 746.  Money paid into court (Repealed).

20c746v

 

1978 Repeal.  The repeal of section 746 is effective two years from April 28, 1978.

20c747s

§ 747.  Powers and duties of the sheriff (Repealed).

20c748s

§ 748.  Fees (Repealed).

20c751h

 

 

SUBCHAPTER F

MASTERS, AUDITORS, EXAMINERS, GUARDIANS AD

LITEM AND TRUSTEES AD LITEM

 

Sec.

751.  Appointment; purpose.

752.  Compensation.

753.  Subpoenas.

754.  Power to administer oaths (Repealed).

20c751s

§ 751.  Appointment; purpose.

The orphans' court division may appoint:

(1)  Masters.--A master to investigate any issue of fact and to report his findings of fact, conclusions of law and recommendations to the court.

(2)  Auditors of accounts of fiduciaries.--Except in the circumstances prohibited by law, an auditor to examine and audit an account and to determine distribution.

(3)  Auditors to state accounts.--An auditor to state an account when a proper account cannot be obtained from a fiduciary or other person required to state an account.

(4)  Examiners of assets.--By general rule or special order, an examiner or examiners to make periodic or special examinations of assets of estates or trusts, and to require all persons in whose custody or control such assets may be held to present them for examination.

(5)  Guardians and trustees ad litem.--On petition or on its own motion, a guardian or a trustee ad litem to represent the interest, not already represented by a fiduciary, of:

(i)  a person not sui juris; or

(ii)  an absentee; or

(iii)  a presumed decedent; or

(iv)  an unborn or unascertained person.

(6)  Representation of parties in interest.--Persons interested in an estate as beneficiary or heir, if minors or otherwise legally incapacitated, and possible unborn or unascertained persons, may be represented in a judicial proceeding by a guardian or trustee ad litem if the court deems necessary. The court may dispense with the appointment of a guardian or trustee ad litem for a person who is a minor or otherwise legally incapacitated, unborn or unascertained if there is a living person sui juris having a similar interest or if such person is or would be issue of a living ancestor sui juris and interested in the estate whose interest is not adverse to his. If the whereabouts of any beneficiary or heir is unknown or if there is doubt as to his existence, the court shall provide for service of notice and representation in the judicial proceeding as it deems proper.

20c751v

(Oct. 12, 1999, P.L.422, No.39, eff. 60 days; July 7, 2006, P.L.625, No.98, eff. 120 days)

 

2006 Amendment.  Act 98 amended par. (6).

20c752s

§ 752.  Compensation.

The compensation of any master, auditor, examiner, guardian ad litem, or trustee ad litem, subject to any inconsistent general rule shall be paid from such source as the court shall direct.

20c752v

(Apr. 28, 1978, P.L.202, No.53, eff. 60 days)

20c753s

§ 753.  Subpoenas.

Masters, auditors and examiners shall have the power to issue subpoenas with or without a clause of duces tecum to witnesses to appear before them when necessary for the performance of any of their duties. If any person who has been duly subpoenaed fails to obey the subpoena, the master, auditor, or examiner issuing the subpoena may report the neglect or refusal to the orphans' court division.

20c753v

(Apr. 28, 1978, P.L.202, No.53, eff. 60 days)

20c754s

§ 754.  Power to administer oaths (Repealed).

20c754v

 

1978 Repeal.  Section 754 was repealed April 28, 1978, P.L.202, No.53, effective in 60 days.

20c761h

 

 

SUBCHAPTER G

PROCEDURE

 

Sec.

761.  Petitions.

762.  Accounts.

763.  Writs of habeas corpus (Repealed).

764.  Citation.

765.  Service of citation.

766.  Proof of service.

767.  Parties in interest.

768.  Manner of service; proof.

769.  Power of orphans' court division (Repealed).

771.  Decree without prior hearing; attachment; sequestration    (Repealed).

772.  Injunctions (Repealed).

773.  Subpoenas (Repealed).

774.  Depositions and discovery.

775.  Perpetuation of testimony and court records.

776.  Testimony in proceedings removed from register.

777.  Right to jury trial; discretion of orphans' court    division.

778.  Procedure for jury trials.

779.  Nonsuits.

781.  Methods of enforcement.

782.  Procedure on attachment of the person.

783.  Procedure on sequestration of real or personal property.

784.  Procedure on execution on personal property.

785.  Procedure on attachment execution.

786.  Procedure on execution on real estate.

791.  Allowance and allocation (Repealed).

792.  Right of appeal (Repealed).

793.  Effect of appeal.

794.  Disposition of cases on appeal (Repealed).

20c761s

§ 761.  Petitions.

All applications to the orphans' court division shall be by petition in the form prescribed by general rules and shall be attested either by an affidavit or by a verified statement. In the case of the latter alternative, the statement shall set forth that it is subject to the penalties of 18 Pa.C.S. § 4904 (relating to unsworn falsification to authorities).

20c761v

(Apr. 28, 1978, P.L.202, No.53, eff. 60 days; July 11, 1980, P.L.565, No.118, eff. 60 days)

20c762s

§ 762.  Accounts.

The orphans' court division may decide or dispose of any question relating to the administration or distribution of an estate or trust and exercise any of its powers in respect thereof upon the filing of an account or in any other appropriate proceeding. The account may be a complete accounting of the estate or trust or of only the transactions which raise the question to be determined.

20c763s

§ 763.  Writs of habeas corpus (Repealed).

20c763v

 

1978 Repeal.  Section 763 was repealed April 28, 1978, P.L.202, No.53, effective in 60 days.

20c764s

§ 764.  Citation.

Jurisdiction of the person shall be obtained by citation to be awarded by the orphans' court division upon application of any party in interest. The citation shall direct the party named therein to file a complete answer under oath to the averments of the petition on or before a day certain, which shall be not less than ten days after the service thereof, and to show cause as the decree of the division shall provide.

20c765s

§ 765.  Service of citation.

A citation to obtain jurisdiction of a person may be served by an adult person, or by the sheriff of the county wherein the citation issued, or by deputization of the sheriff of the county where the service may be had in any county of the Commonwealth, in the same manner as a writ of summons in an action of assumpsit. When no other time is specially fixed by the orphans' court division, the order awarding the citation shall be void unless the citation is issued within six months.

20c766s

§ 766.  Proof of service.

Proof of service shall be by affidavit of the person or the return of the sheriff making service, and shall set forth the same information as a sheriff's return in an action of assumpsit.

20c767s

§ 767.  Parties in interest.

In any proceeding where the orphans' court division considers that the interests of any taxing authority, including the United States, any state and any political subdivision thereof, may be adversely affected directly or indirectly by a decision of such division because of the effect of such decision on assets subject to tax or for any other reason, the division shall have the power on its own motion or on the application of any party in interest, including the taxing authority, and upon such notice as it may direct, to authorize the taxing authority through its proper officer to appear as a party in interest, and if such an appearance is entered, the taxing authority shall be considered to be a party in interest aggrieved by any decision adversely affecting its interests.

20c768s

§ 768.  Manner of service; proof.

Notice of any proceeding in an orphans' court division may be given within or outside the Commonwealth by personal service, by registered mail, by publication, or otherwise, as the division shall direct by general rule or special order. Notice may be in the form of a citation served as provided in this section.

20c769s

§ 769.  Power of orphans' court division (Repealed).

20c769v

 

1978 Repeal.  Section 769 was repealed April 28, 1978, P.L.202, No.53, effective in 60 days.

20c771s

§ 771.  Decree without prior hearing; attachment; sequestration (Repealed).

20c771v

 

1978 Repeal.  Section 771 was repealed April 28, 1978, P.L.202, No.53, effective in two years.

20c772s

§ 772.  Injunctions (Repealed).

20c772v

 

1978 Repeal.  Section 772 was repealed April 28, 1978, P.L.202, No.53, effective in 60 days.

20c773s

§ 773.  Subpoenas (Repealed).

20c773v

 

1980 Repeal.  Section 773 was repealed October 5, 1980, P.L.693, No.142, effective in 60 days.

20c774s

§ 774.  Depositions and discovery.

The orphans' court division, by general rule or special order, may prescribe the practice relating to depositions, discovery, and the production of documents. To the extent not provided for by general rule or special order, the practice relating to such matters shall conform to the practice in the division of the court having jurisdiction over actions at law.

20c775s

§ 775.  Perpetuation of testimony and court records.

The orphans' court division, by general rule or special order, may prescribe the practice relating to the perpetuation of testimony and to the perpetuation of lost or destroyed court records. When proved, such court records shall have the same legal effect as original records would have had. Notice of proceedings for the perpetuation of testimony and for the perpetuation of lost or destroyed court records shall be given in such manner as the division shall direct.

20c776s

§ 776.  Testimony in proceedings removed from register.

On appeal from the register, or in a proceeding removed from the register, the orphans' court division may find, upon the testimony taken before the register, that a substantial dispute of fact exists and grant a jury trial. When upon the testimony taken before the register a jury trial is not granted, the division shall hear the testimony de novo unless all parties appearing in the proceeding agree that the case be heard on the testimony taken before the register. In any event, the division may require witnesses already examined and other witnesses to appear before it. The division, in its discretion, may impanel a jury at any stage of the proceedings.

20c777s

§ 777.  Right to jury trial; discretion of orphans' court division.

(a)  Title to property.--When a substantial dispute of fact shall arise concerning the decedent's title to property, real or personal, any party in interest shall be entitled to a trial of such issue by a jury. The verdict of the jury shall have the same effect as the verdict of a jury in a case at law.

(b)  Determination of incapacity.--Any person against whom proceedings have been instituted to establish his incapacity shall be entitled to a trial of such issue by a jury. The verdict of the jury shall have the same effect as the verdict of a jury in a case at law.

(c)  Will contest and other matters.--When a contest shall arise concerning the validity of a writing alleged to be testamentary, or concerning any matter other than as provided in subsections (a) and (b) of this section, the orphans' court division, in its discretion at any stage of the proceedings, may impanel a jury to decide any question of fact, but the verdict of the jury shall be advisory only.

(d)  Waiver of right.--A person desiring a trial by jury shall make demand therefor in writing at least ten days prior to the initial hearing before the orphans' court division or; if the initial hearing is dispensed with as provided in section 778(b) (relating to combined hearings and trials) then at least ten days prior to the trial. The right to trial by jury is waived if such demand is not so made or, after having been made, the person claiming the right fails to appear.

20c777v

(Apr. 16, 1992, P.L.108, No.24, eff. 60 days)

 

1992 Amendment.  Act 24 amended subsec. (b). See section 21 of Act 24 in the appendix to this title for special provisions relating to applicability.

20c778s

§ 778.  Procedure for jury trials.

(a)  Jury.--Jury trials in any case begun before or certified or appealed to an orphans' court division shall be tried in the division. The division shall draw a jury and preside at the trial of the issue and shall have all the powers of a judge in trials by jury in cases at law. The panel of jurors drawn for service in other divisions of the court shall be available for such service in the orphans' court division when required, and in judicial districts where there is a separate orphans' court division, the court of common pleas shall, by appropriate rules, provide for and regulate the manner in which the jurors shall be made available and sent to the orphans' court division when required for the trial of issues therein.

(b)  Combined hearings and trials.--In any case begun before or certified or appealed to the orphans' court division, the court may, on its own motion or on motion of a party and with reasonable notice to all parties:

(1)  combine the hearing to determine whether a substantial dispute of fact exists with the trial to determine the dispute, and impanel a jury before determining whether or not a substantial dispute of fact exists; and

(2)  combine the hearing and trial on all wills, the issues in regard to which are closely interrelated.

The court may withdraw the case from the jury, if the court determines that no substantial dispute of fact exists.

(c)  Rules of court.--Unless and until an orphans' court division otherwise directs, the appropriate rules of the division of the court having jurisdiction over actions at law shall apply to jury trials of issues in the orphans' court division, and matters relating to such trials shall be heard and disposed of by the orphans' court division.

20c778v

 

Cross References.  Section 778 is referred to in section 777 of this title.

20c779s

§ 779.  Nonsuits.

(a)  In general.--The orphans' court division may enter a nonsuit under the same circumstances, subject to review in the same manner and with the same effect as in an action at law.

(b)  Will contest.--A nonsuit may be entered against a contestant in a will contest whenever the contestant has the burden of overcoming the presumption of validity arising from due proof of execution as required by law and the contestant has failed to satisfy that burden.

(c)  Other cases.--In any other case a nonsuit may be entered against a party where the disposition of the case depends on an issue on which that party has the burden of proof and has failed to satisfy that burden.

20c779v

(Dec. 10, 1974, P.L.867, No.293, eff. imd.)

 

1974 Amendment.  Act 293 added section 779.

20c781s

§ 781.  Methods of enforcement.

Compliance with an order or decree of an orphans' court division may be enforced by attachment of the person; sequestration of real or personal property; execution on personal property; attachment execution; or execution on real estate.

20c782s

§ 782.  Procedure on attachment of the person.

(a)  Direction of writs.--A writ of attachment of the person shall be directed to and executed by the sheriff of the county in which the court or branch of the court is located or of any county where the person to be attached is located.

(b)  Discharge of person attached for contempt.--Any person attached for contempt may be discharged from custody by the orphans' court division upon purging himself of contempt to the satisfaction of the division by whose order he was attached.

20c783s

§ 783.  Procedure on sequestration of real or personal property.

A writ of sequestration of real or personal property of an estate or trust, or of the respondent, to enforce an order or decree of the orphans' court division in the administration of the estate or trust shall be allowed by the orphans' court division as fully as in any court of equity, and shall be directed to and executed by the sheriff of the county in which the court or branch of the court is located or of any county where property to be sequestered is located. The orphans' court division, by general rule or special order, may prescribe the practice relating to sequestration of real and personal property. To the extent not provided for by general rule or special order, the practice relating to sequestration shall conform to the practice in the division of the court having jurisdiction over actions at law.

20c784s

§ 784.  Procedure on execution on personal property.

Writs of execution on personal property shall be allowed by the orphans' court division and directed to and executed by the sheriff of the proper county. The proceedings thereon shall be the same as on execution on personal property issued out of the division of the court having jurisdiction over actions at law.

20c785s

§ 785.  Procedure on attachment execution.

Writs of attachment execution shall be allowed by the orphans' court division and directed to and executed by the sheriff of the proper county. The proceedings thereon shall be the same as attachment executions issued out of the division of the court having jurisdiction over actions at law.

20c786s

§ 786.  Procedure on execution on real estate.

(a)  Filing.--The prothonotary of any court of common pleas shall, on demand of the fiduciary or of any party in interest, file and docket a certified transcript or extract from the record showing that an orphans' court division has adjudged an amount to be due by any person, and such transcripts or extract shall constitute a judgment of the court against such person from the time of its filing with the same effect as if it had been obtained in an action in the division of the court having jurisdiction over actions at law. If the amount adjudged to be due shall be increased or decreased on appeal, the prothonotary shall, if the decree of the appellate court is certified to him, change his records accordingly, and if the appellate court has increased the amount, the excess shall constitute a judgment from the time when the records are so changed.

(b)  Satisfaction and discharge.--If the orphans' court division shall order such person to be relieved from any such judgment, the prothonotary shall, on demand of any party in interest, enter on his records a certified copy of such order, which shall operate as a satisfaction of the judgment.

(c)  Executions.--Execution may be issued on the judgment out of the court against the real estate of such respondent by any interested party for the recovery of so much as may be due to him, in the same manner as upon any other judgment rendered by the court.

20c791s

§ 791.  Allowance and allocation (Repealed).

20c791v

 

1978 Repeal.  Section 791 was repealed April 28, 1978, P.L.202, No.53, effective in one year.

20c792s

§ 792.  Right of appeal (Repealed).

20c792v

 

1978 Repeal.  Section 792 was repealed April 28, 1978, P.L.202, No.53, effective in 60 days.

20c793s

§ 793.  Effect of appeal.

No appeal from an order or decree of an orphans' court division concerning the validity of a will or the right to administer shall suspend the powers or prejudice the acts of a personal representative acting thereunder. The reversal or modification of any decree of an orphans' court division in a proceeding in which the division has jurisdiction of the sale, mortgage, exchange or conveyance of real or personal estate shall not divest any estate or interest acquired thereunder by a person not a party to the appeal.

20c793v

 

Saved from Repeal.  Section 793 is saved from repeal by the act of April 28, 1978, P.L.202, No.53, which put into effect the provisions of Title 42 (Judiciary and Judicial Procedure).

20c794s

§ 794.  Disposition of cases on appeal (Repealed).

20c794v

 

1978 Repeal.  Section 794 was repealed April 28, 1978, P.L.202, No.53, effective in 60 days.

20c901h

 

 

CHAPTER 9

REGISTER OF WILLS

 

Subchapter

A.  Jurisdiction and Powers

B.  Records and Certified Copies

 

Enactment.  Chapter 9 was added June 30, 1972, P.L.508, No.164, effective July 1, 1972.

 

 

SUBCHAPTER A

JURISDICTION AND POWERS

 

Sec.

901.  Register's jurisdiction.

902.  Deputy register.

903.  Witnesses; testimony.

904.  Witness fees.

905.  Enforcement of subpoenas, orders and costs.

906.  Caveat.

907.  Certification of records to court.

908.  Appeals.

909.  Bill of costs (Repealed).

910.  Transmission of accounts to the court.

911.  Attestation of certain applications and documents.

20c901s

§ 901.  Register's jurisdiction.

Within the county for which he has been elected or appointed, the register shall have jurisdiction of the probate of wills, the grant of letters to a personal representative, and any other matter as provided by law.

20c902s

§ 902.  Deputy register.

Every register shall appoint a deputy or two deputies who shall have power to perform the duties of the office in his behalf and for whose conduct he and his surety shall be accountable. In case of a vacancy in the office of register, the first deputy shall exercise all the powers of the register until a successor is appointed or elected.

20c903s

§ 903.  Witnesses; testimony.

The register shall have power to:

(1)  Subpoenas.--Issue a subpoena to any person in any county of the Commonwealth to appear or produce papers or records before him.

(2)  Administering oaths.--Administer oaths and affirmations to parties and witnesses appearing before him and to designate any clerk or clerks in his employ to administer such oaths and affirmations to parties and witnesses appearing before them, whether within or without the county of the register's jurisdiction, or without the Commonwealth.

(3)  Depositions.--Issue commissions or rules to take the depositions of witnesses in another county or outside the Commonwealth. The practice relating thereto shall conform to the practice in the local orphans' court division.

20c904s

§ 904.  Witness fees.

Witnesses appearing before the register in obedience to the register's subpoena shall be entitled to the same fees and mileage as are allowed by law to witnesses in the orphans' court division.

20c905s

§ 905.  Enforcement of subpoenas, orders and costs.

Should any person refuse to comply with any subpoena or order of the register or to pay all costs, the register shall forthwith certify the record of the proceedings to the court. The court, upon petition of any party in interest, shall compel payment of the costs and shall enforce obedience to the subpoena or order in the same manner as in cases of subpoenas and orders issued or made by the court.

20c906s

§ 906.  Caveat.

(a)  Bond.--When a caveat has been filed, the register shall not delay the probate of a will or the grant of letters for more than ten days after the filing of the petition for probate or for the grant of letters, or after the filing of the caveat, whichever shall be later, unless within such ten-day period a party in interest shall file with the register his bond in the name of the Commonwealth with sufficient surety in such amount, not less than $500 or more than $5,000, as the register considers necessary, conditioned for the payment of any costs which may be decreed against the caveator.

(b)  Failure to give bond.--If no bond is filed within the ten-day period, the caveat shall be considered abandoned, except as the register, for cause shown, shall extend the time.

(c)  Costs.--The register, or the court upon appeal, shall determine the amount of costs occasioned by a caveat and direct by whom they shall be paid. If all or part of the costs shall be finally decreed to be paid by the caveator, any party interested in the costs may bring suit on the caveator's bond as provided by law.

20c907s

§ 907.  Certification of records to court.

Whenever a caveat shall be filed or a dispute shall arise before the register concerning the probate of a will, the grant of letters or the performance of any other function by the register, he may certify, or the court upon petition of any party in interest may direct the register at any stage of the proceedings to certify, the entire record to the court, which shall proceed to a determination of the issue in dispute. No letters of administration pendente lite shall be granted by the register after proceedings have been removed to the court except by leave of court.

20c908s

§ 908.  Appeals.

(a)  When allowed.--Any party in interest seeking to challenge the probate of a will or who is otherwise aggrieved by a decree of the register, or a fiduciary whose estate or trust is so aggrieved, may appeal therefrom to the court within one year of the decree: Provided, That the executor designated in an instrument shall not by virtue of such designation be deemed a party in interest who may appeal from a decree refusing probate of it. The court, upon petition of a party in interest, may limit the time for appeal to three months.

(b)  Bond.--The court, upon cause shown and after such notice, if any, as it shall direct, may require a surety bond to be filed by anyone appealing from a decree of the register conditioned for the payment of any costs or charges that may be decreed against him. The sufficiency of the surety shall be determined by the register in the first instance, with right of appeal to the court. If a bond in compliance with the final applicable order is not filed within ten days thereafter, the appeal shall be considered abandoned.

(c)  Effect of appeal.--No appeal from a decree of the register shall suspend the powers or prejudice the acts of a personal representative to whom letters have been granted.

(d)  Excepted appeals.--This section shall not apply to appeals for inheritance tax purposes, or to appeals specially regulated by law.

20c908v

(Dec. 10, 1974, P.L.867, No.293, eff. imd.; July 9, 1976, P.L.551, No.135, eff. imd.; July 7, 2006, P.L.625, No.98, eff. 60 days)

 

2006 Amendment.  Act 98 amended subsec. (a).

1976 Amendment.  Act 135 amended subsecs. (a) and (b).

1974 Amendment.  Act 293 amended subsec. (d), retroactive to July 1, 1972.

Cross References.  Section 908 is referred to in section 3133 of this title.

20c909s

§ 909.  Bill of costs (Repealed).

20c909v

 

1978 Repeal.  Section 909 was repealed April 28, 1978, P.L.202, No.53, effective in one year.

20c910s

§ 910.  Transmission of accounts to the court.

All accounts filed with the register shall be transmitted to the court for audit and confirmation on dates fixed by the court by general rule or special order and shall be advertised as required by law.

20c911s

§ 911.  Attestation of certain applications and documents.

Except as provided otherwise in section 3154 (relating to affidavit and oath), applications and documents submitted to the register for which attestation is required may be attested either by an affidavit or by a verified statement. In case of the latter alternative, the statement shall set forth that it is subject to the penalties of 18 Pa.C.S. § 4904 (relating to unsworn falsification to authorities).

20c911v

(Dec. 16, 1992, P.L.1163, No.152, eff. imd.)

 

1992 Amendment.  Act 152 added section 911. Section 27(e) of Act 152 provided that section 911 shall apply beginning with the effective date of Act 152.

20c921h

 

 

SUBCHAPTER B

RECORDS AND CERTIFIED COPIES

 

Sec.

921.  Wills.

922.  Inventories.

923.  Certified copies.

924.  Recording proceedings in another county.

925.  Certificates and affidavits of death.

20c921s

§ 921.  Wills.

All probated wills shall be indexed and recorded by the register, and shall remain in his office, except for the period required to be in the custody of a higher court. The recording may be accomplished by photographic or other mechanical process.

20c922s

§ 922.  Inventories.

The register shall index and record all inventories filed with him. The recording may be accomplished by photographic or other mechanical process.

20c922v

(Dec. 10, 1974, P.L.867, No.293, eff. imd.)

20c923s

§ 923.  Certified copies.

Every register upon the request of any person paying the fee therefor, shall make and certify under the seal of his office true copies of his records or of papers filed with him or of proceedings before him. Such certified copies shall be as good evidence as the original in any judicial proceeding in the Commonwealth.

20c924s

§ 924.  Recording proceedings in another county.

Copies of wills and probate proceedings and records of the grant of letters of administration and proceedings relating thereto, duly certified by the register, may be filed in the office of the register in any county where real estate of the decedent is located. The register with whom such papers are filed shall forthwith record the same, and the record thereof shall be as valid and effectual in law as the original, or its duly certified copy, or its record would be for all purposes of vesting title, of evidence, and of notice.

20c925s

§ 925.  Certificates and affidavits of death.

Where it is not necessary to have letters granted to administer a decedent's estate but it is desired to have a public record of his death, a certificate of death may be filed with the register except that where a certificate of death cannot be obtained the affidavit of a relative or other interested party may be filed with the register setting forth the decedent's name, residence, date, time and place of death, and age at death. The register shall index and record all such certificates and affidavits filed with him.

20c925v

(Dec. 10, 1974, P.L.867, No.293, eff. imd.)

 

1974 Amendment.  Act 293 added section 925.

20c1304v

(Dec. 22, 1993, P.L.555, No.79, eff. 60 days; June 25, 1997, P.L.331, No.35, eff. imd.)

 

1997 Repeal Note.  Act 35 repealed subsec. (a).

1993 Amendment.  Act 79 amended subsec. (b).

Cross References.  Section 1304 is referred to in sections 1306, 3304 of this title; section 1201 of Title 4 (Amusements).

20c2101h

 

 

CHAPTER 21

INTESTATE SUCCESSION

 

Sec.

2101.  Intestate estate.

2102.  Share of surviving spouse.

2103.  Shares of others than surviving spouse.

2104.  Rules of succession.

2105.  Spouse's rights.

2106.  Forfeiture.

2107.  Persons born out of wedlock.

2108.  Adopted person.

2109.  Advancements (Repealed).

2109.1. Advancements.

2110.  Spouse's allowance; procedure.

2111.  Procedure to establish title to real property when spouse claims entire estate (Repealed).

2112.  Property distributable to the Commonwealth (Repealed).

2113.  Limitations of claims (Repealed).

2114.  Personal estate of nonresident (Repealed).

 

Enactment.  Chapter 21 was added June 30, 1972, P.L.508, No.164, effective July 1, 1972.

Cross References.  Chapter 21 is referred to in sections 305, 6306 of this title; section 6115 of Title 18 (Crimes and Offenses).

20c2101s

§ 2101.  Intestate estate.

(a)  General rule.--All or any part of the estate of a decedent not effectively disposed of by will or otherwise passes to his heirs as prescribed in this chapter, except as modified by the decedent's will.

(b)  Modification by decedent's will.--A decedent by will may expressly exclude or limit the right of an individual or class to succeed to property of the decedent passing by intestate succession. If that individual or a member of that class survives the decedent, the share of the decedent's intestate estate to which the individual or class would have succeeded passes as if that individual or each member of that class had disclaimed his intestate share.

20c2101v

(Apr. 18, 1978, P.L.42, No.23, eff. 60 days; Dec. 1, 1994, P.L.655, No.102, eff. 60 days)

 

1994 Amendment.  Section 10 of Act 102 provided that the amendment of section 2101 shall apply to the estates of decedents dying on or after the effective date of Act 102.

1978 Amendment.  Section 9 of Act 23 provided that Act 23 shall apply only to decedents dying after the effective date of Act 23.

20c2102s

§ 2102.  Share of surviving spouse.

The intestate share of a decedent's surviving spouse is:

(1)  If there is no surviving issue or parent of the decedent, the entire intestate estate.

(2)  If there is no surviving issue of the decedent but he is survived by a parent or parents, the first $30,000 plus one-half of the balance of the intestate estate. Notwithstanding the foregoing, in the case of a decedent who died as a result of the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001, a surviving spouse shall be entitled to 100% of any compensation award paid pursuant to the Air Transportation Safety and System Stabilization Act (Public Law 107-42, 115 Stat. 230).

(3)  If there are surviving issue of the decedent all of whom are issue of the surviving spouse also, the first $30,000 plus one-half of the balance of the intestate estate.

(4)  If there are surviving issue of the decedent one or more of whom are not issue of the surviving spouse, one-half of the intestate estate.

(5)  In case of partial intestacy any property received by the surviving spouse under the will shall satisfy pro tanto the $30,000 allowance under paragraphs (2) and (3).

20c2102v

(Apr. 18, 1978, P.L.42, No.23, eff. 60 days; July 11, 1980, P.L.565, No.118, eff. 60 days; Oct. 3, 2003, P.L.175, No.26, eff. imd.)

 

2003 Amendment.  Section 2 of Act 26 provided that Act 26 shall be retroactive to September 11, 2001.

20c2103s

§ 2103.  Shares of others than surviving spouse.

The share of the estate, if any, to which the surviving spouse is not entitled, and the entire estate if there is no surviving spouse, shall pass in the following order:

(1)  Issue.--To the issue of the decedent.

(2)  Parents.--If no issue survives the decedent, then to the parents or parent of the decedent.

(3)  Brothers, sisters, or their issue.--If no parent survives the decedent, then to the issue of each of the decedent's parents.

(4)  Grandparents.--If no issue of either of the decedent's parents but at least one grandparent survives the decedent, then half to the paternal grandparents or grandparent, or if both are dead, to the children of each of them and the children of the deceased children of each of them, and half to the maternal grandparents or grandparent, or if both are dead to the children of each of them and the children of the deceased children of each of them. If both of the paternal grandparents or both of the maternal grandparents are dead leaving no child or grandchild to survive the decedent, the half which would have passed to them or to their children and grandchildren shall be added to the half passing to the grandparents or grandparent or to their children and grandchildren on the other side.

(5)  Uncles, aunts and their children, and grandchildren.--If no grandparent survives the decedent, then to the uncles and aunts and the children and grandchildren of deceased uncles and aunts of the decedent as provided in section 2104(1) (relating to taking in different degrees).

(6)  Commonwealth.--In default of all persons hereinbefore described, then to the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania.

20c2103v

(Apr. 18, 1978, P.L.42, No.23, eff. 60 days)

 

1978 Amendment.  Section 9 of Act 23 provided that Act 23 shall apply only to decedents dying after the effective date of Act 23.

Cross References.  Section 2103 is referred to in section 2104 of this title.

20c2104s

§ 2104.  Rules of succession.

The provisions of this chapter shall be applied to both real and personal estate in accordance with the following rules:

(1)  Taking in different degrees.--The shares passing under this chapter to the issue of the decedent, to the issue of his parents or grandparents or to his uncles or aunts or to their children, or grandchildren, shall pass to them as follows: The part of the estate passing to any such persons shall be divided into as many equal shares as there shall be persons in the nearest degree of consanguinity to the decedent living and taking shares therein and persons in that degree who have died before the decedent and have left issue to survive him who take shares therein. One equal share shall pass to each such living person in the nearest degree and one equal share shall pass by representation to the issue of each such deceased person, except that no issue of a child of an uncle or aunt of the decedent shall be entitled to any share of the estate unless there be no relatives as close as a child of an uncle or aunt living and taking a share therein, in which case the grandchildren of uncles and aunts of the decedent shall be entitled to share, but no issue of a grandchild of an uncle or aunt shall be entitled to any share of the estate.

(2)  Taking in same degree.--When the persons entitled to take under this chapter other than as a surviving spouse are all in the same degree of consanguinity to the decedent, they shall take in equal shares.

(3)  Whole and half blood.--Persons taking under this chapter shall take without distinction between those of the whole and those of the half blood.

(4)  After-born persons; time of determining relationships.--Persons begotten before the decedent's death but born thereafter, shall take as if they had been born in his lifetime.

(5)  Source of ownership.--Real estate shall pass under this chapter without regard to the ancestor or other relation from whom it has come.

(6)  Quantity of estate.--Any person taking real or personal estate under this chapter shall take such interest as the decedent had therein.

(7)  Tenancy in estate.--When real or personal estate or shares therein shall pass to two or more persons, they shall take it as tenants in common, except that if it shall pass to a husband and wife they shall take it as tenants by the entireties.

(8)  Alienage.--Real and personal estate shall pass without regard to whether the decedent or any person otherwise entitled to take under this chapter is or has been an alien.

(9)  Person related to decedent through two lines.--A person related to the decedent through two lines of relationship shall take one share only which shall be the larger share.

(10)  Requirement that heir survive decedent for five days.--Any person who fails to survive the decedent by five days shall be deemed to have predeceased the decedent for purposes of intestate succession and the decedent's heirs shall be determined accordingly. If the time of death of the decedent or of a person who would otherwise be an heir, or the times of death of both, cannot be determined, and it cannot be established that the person who would otherwise be an heir survived the decedent by five days, that person shall be deemed to have failed to survive for the required period. This section shall not be applied where its application would result in a taking by the Commonwealth under section 2103(6) (relating to shares of others than surviving spouse).

(11)  Intestacy following valid prior estate.--In the event of an intestacy occurring at the termination of a valid prior estate, the identity and shares of the intestate heirs then entitled to take shall be ascertained as though the death of the testator, settlor or grantor had occurred at the time of the termination of the prior estate.

20c2104v

(July 9, 1976, P.L.551, No.135, eff. imd.; Apr. 18, 1978, P.L.42, No.23, eff. 60 days; May 16, 2002, P.L.330, No.50, eff. 60 days)

 

2002 Amendment.  Act 50 added par. (11). Section 14(b)(2) of Act 50 provided that the amendment shall apply to intestacies occurring on or after the effective date of Act 50, even if the trust became irrevocable before the effective date of Act 50.

Cross References.  Section 2104 is referred to in sections 2103, 6205 of this title.

20c2105s

§ 2105.  Spouse's rights.

(a)  Widow.--The share of the estate to which a widow is entitled under this title shall be in lieu and full satisfaction of her dower at common law.

(b)  Surviving husband.--The share of the estate to which a surviving husband is entitled under this title shall be in lieu and full satisfaction of his curtesy at common law.

20c2105v

(Apr. 18, 1978, P.L.42, No.23, eff. 60 days)

 

1978 Amendment.  Section 9 of Act 23 provided that Act 23 shall apply only to decedents dying after the effective date of Act 23.

20c2106s

§ 2106.  Forfeiture.

(a)  Spouse's share.--

(1)  A spouse who, for one year or upwards previous to the death of the other spouse, has willfully neglected or refused to perform the duty to support the other spouse, or who for one year or upwards has willfully and maliciously deserted the other spouse, shall have no right or interest under this chapter in the real or personal estate of the other spouse.

(2)  A spouse shall have no right or interest under this chapter in the real or personal estate of the other spouse if:

(i)  the other spouse dies domiciled in this Commonwealth during the course of divorce proceedings;

(ii)  no decree of divorce has been entered pursuant to 23 Pa.C.S. § 3323 (relating to decree of court); and

(iii)  grounds have been established as provided in 23 Pa.C.S. § 3323(g).

(b)  Parent's share.--Any parent who, for one year or upwards previous to the death of the parent's minor or dependent child, has:

(1)  failed to perform the duty to support the minor or dependent child or who, for one year, has deserted the minor or dependent child; or

(2)  been convicted of one of the following offenses under Title 18:

section 4303 (relating to concealing death of child);

section 4304 (relating to endangering welfare of children);

section 6312 (relating to sexual abuse of children);

or an equivalent crime under Federal law or the law of

another state involving his or her child;

shall have no right or interest under this chapter in the real or personal estate of the minor or dependent child. The determination under paragraph (1) shall be made by the court after considering the quality, nature and extent of the parent's contact with the child and the physical, emotional and financial support provided to the child.

(c)  Slayer's share.--Any person who participates either as a principal or as an accessory before the fact in the willful and unlawful killing of any person shall not in any way acquire property or receive any benefits as the result of such killing, but such property or benefits shall be distributed as provided in Chapter 88 (relating to slayers).

(d)  Surviving spouse as witness.--The surviving husband or wife shall be a competent witness as to all matters pertinent to the issue of forfeiture under this section.

20c2106v

(Dec. 10, 1974, P.L.867, No.293, eff. imd.; July 9, 1976, P.L.551, No.135, eff. imd.; Mar. 7, 1984, P.L.103, No.21, eff. imd.; Dec. 20, 2000, P.L.838, No.118, eff. 60 days; Oct. 27, 2010, P.L.837, No.85, eff. 60 days)

 

2010 Amendment.  Act 85 amended subsec. (a).

2000 Amendment.  Act 118 amended subsec. (b).

1976 Amendment.  Act 135 amended subsec. (a) and deleted subsec. (b).

1974 Amendment.  Act 293 amended subsec. (c).

Cross References.  Section 2106 is referred to in section 2208 of this title.

20c2107s

§ 2107.  Persons born out of wedlock.

(a)  Child of mother.--For purposes of descent by, from and through a person born out of wedlock, he shall be considered the child of his mother.

(b)  Marriage of parents.--(Deleted by amendment).

(c)  Child of father.--For purposes of descent by, from and through a person born out of wedlock, he shall be considered the child of his father when the identity of the father has been determined in any one of the following ways:

(1)  If the parents of a child born out of wedlock shall have married each other.

(2)  If during the lifetime of the child, the father openly holds out the child to be his and receives the child into his home, or openly holds the child out to be his and provides support for the child which shall be determined by clear and convincing evidence.

(3)  If there is clear and convincing evidence that the man was the father of the child, which may include a prior court determination of paternity.

20c2107v

(Nov. 26, 1978, P.L.1269, No.303, eff. imd.)

 

1978 Amendment.  Section 5 of Act 303 provided that Act 303 shall not apply to wills or conveyances executed prior to the effective date of Act 303 or to rights from and through a child's father if the father had died prior to the effective date of Act 303.

Cross References.  Section 2107 is referred to in sections 2514, 6114 of this title.

20c2108s

§ 2108.  Adopted person.

For purposes of inheritance by, from and through an adopted person he shall be considered the issue of his adopting parent or parents. An adopted person shall not be considered as continuing to be the child or issue of his natural parents except in distributing the estate of a natural kin, other than the natural parent, who has maintained a family relationship with the adopted person. If a natural parent shall have married the adopting parent, the adopted person for purposes of inheritance by, from and through him shall also be considered the issue of such natural parent.

20c2108v

(July 9, 1976, P.L.551, No.135, eff. imd.)

20c2109s

§ 2109.  Advancements (Repealed).

20c2109v

 

1976 Repeal.  Section 2109 was repealed July 9, 1976, P.L.551, No.135, effective immediately.

20c2109.1s

§ 2109.1.  Advancements.

If a person dies intestate as to all or any part of his estate, property which he gave in his lifetime to an heir is treated as an advancement against the latter's share of the estate only if declared in a writing by the decedent or acknowledged in writing by the heir to be an advancement. For this purpose the property advanced is valued as of the time the heir came into possession or enjoyment of the property or as of the time of death of the decedent, whichever first occurs. If the recipient of the property fails to survive the decedent, the property is not taken into account in computing the intestate share to be received by the recipient's issue unless the declaration or acknowledgment so provides.

20c2109.1v

(July 9, 1976, P.L.551, No.135, eff. imd.)

 

1976 Amendment.  Act 135 added section 2109.1.

20c2110s

§ 2110.  Spouse's allowance; procedure.

The allowance shall be set aside and awarded in distribution to the surviving spouse, or his successor in interest, in the same manner as other distributive shares of the estate are awarded, without any right in the surviving spouse to choose particular real or personal property in satisfaction thereof. Nothing herein shall be construed as limiting the right of the surviving spouse and other distributees to demand that property, not theretofore sold, be distributed in kind to them.

20c2111s

§ 2111.  Procedure to establish title to real property when spouse claims entire estate (Repealed).

20c2111v

 

1978 Repeal.  Section 2111 was repealed April 18, 1978, P.L.42, No.23, effective in 60 days.

20c2112s

§ 2112.  Property distributable to the Commonwealth (Repealed).

20c2112v

 

1976 Repeal.  Section 2112 was repealed July 9, 1976, P.L.551, No.135, effective immediately.

20c2113s

§ 2113.  Limitations of claims (Repealed).

20c2113v

 

1976 Repeal.  Section 2113 was repealed July 9, 1976, P.L.551, No.135, effective immediately.

20c2114s

§ 2114.  Personal estate of nonresident (Repealed).

20c2114v

 

1976 Repeal.  Section 2114 was repealed July 9, 1976, P.L.551, No.135, effective immediately.

20c2201h

 

 

CHAPTER 22

ELECTIVE SHARE OF SURVIVING SPOUSE

 

Sec.

2201.  Definition of conveyance.

2202.  Right of election; nonresident decedent.

2203.  Right of election; resident decedent.

2204.  Disclaimers, releases and charges against elective share.

2205.  Transfers for value excluded.

2206.  Right of election personal to surviving spouse.

2207.  Waiver of right to elect.

2208.  Forfeiture of right of election.

2209.  Surviving spouse as witness.

2210.  Procedure for election; time limit.

2211.  Determination of effect of election; enforcement.

 

Enactment.  Chapter 22 was added April 18, 1978, P.L.42, No.23, effective in 60 days.

Cross References.  Chapter 22 is referred to in sections 2201, 2209, 3702 of this title.

20c2201s

§ 2201.  Definition of conveyance.

As used in this chapter, unless the context clearly indicates otherwise, "conveyance" means an act by which it is intended to create an interest in real or personal property whether the act is intended to have inter vivos or testamentary operation.

20c2202s

§ 2202.  Right of election; nonresident decedent.

When a married person not domiciled in this Commonwealth dies, the rights, if any, of his surviving spouse to an elective share in property in this Commonwealth are governed by the laws of the decedent's domicile at death, but the rights of the electing spouse shall be subject to the rights of fiduciaries, custodians and obligors within this Commonwealth and transferees for value of and holders of liens for value on real estate or tangible personal property located in this Commonwealth under section 2211 (relating to determination of effect of election; enforcement).

20c2203s

§ 2203.  Right of election; resident decedent.

(a)  Property subject to election.--Except as provided in subsection (c), when a married person domiciled in this Commonwealth dies, his surviving spouse has a right to an elective share of one-third of the following property:

(1)  Property passing from the decedent by will or intestacy.

(2)  Income or use for the remaining life of the spouse of property conveyed by the decedent during the marriage to the extent that the decedent at the time of his death had the use of the property or an interest in or power to withdraw the income thereof.

(3)  Property conveyed by the decedent during his lifetime to the extent that the decedent at the time of his death had a power to revoke the conveyance or to consume, invade or dispose of the principal for his own benefit.

(4)  Property conveyed by the decedent during the marriage to himself and another or others with right of survivorship to the extent of any interest in the property that the decedent had the power at the time of his death unilaterally to convey absolutely or in fee.

(5)  Survivorship rights conveyed to a beneficiary of an annuity contract to the extent it was purchased by the decedent during the marriage and the decedent was receiving annuity payments therefrom at the time of his death.

(6)  Property conveyed by the decedent during the marriage and within one year of his death to the extent that the aggregate amount so conveyed to each donee exceeds $3,000, valued at the time of conveyance.

In construing this subsection, a power in the decedent to withdraw income or principal, or a power in any person whose interest is not adverse to the decedent to distribute to or use for the benefit of the decedent any income or principal, shall be deemed to be a power in the decedent to withdraw so much of the income or principal as is subject to such power, even though such income or principal may be distributed only for support or other particular purpose or only in limited periodic amounts.

(b)  Property not subject to election.--The provisions of subsection (a) shall not be construed to include any of the following except to the extent that they pass as part of the decedent's estate to his personal representative, heirs, legatees or devisees:

(1)  Any conveyance made with the express consent or joinder of the surviving spouse.

(2)  The proceeds of insurance, including accidental death benefits, on the life of the decedent.

(3)  Interests under any broad-based nondiscriminatory pension, profit sharing, stock bonus, deferred compensation, disability, death benefit or other such plan established by an employer for the benefit of its employees and their beneficiaries.

(4)  Property passing by the decedent's exercise or nonexercise of any power of appointment given by someone other than the decedent.

(c)  Nonapplicability.--Pursuant to 23 Pa.C.S. § 3323(d.1) (relating to decree of court), this section shall not apply in the event a married person domiciled in this Commonwealth dies during the course of divorce proceedings, no decree of divorce has been entered pursuant to 23 Pa.C.S. § 3323 and grounds have been established as provided in 23 Pa.C.S. § 3323(g).

20c2203v

(July 11, 1980, P.L.565, No.118, eff. 60 days; Nov. 29, 2004, P.L.1357, No.175, eff. 60 days)

 

2004 Amendment.  Act 175 amended subsec. (a) and added subsec. (c). Section 5(4) of Act 175 provided that the amendment or addition of subsecs. (a) and (c) shall apply to the death of one of the parties on or after the effective date of par. (4) irrespective of whether the divorce proceeding was commenced before, on or after the effective date of par. (4).

Cross References.  Section 2203 is referred to in sections 2204, 2205 of this title.

20c2204s

§ 2204.  Disclaimers, releases and charges against elective share.

(a)  Disclaimers.--Except as provided in subsections (b) and (c), an election by a spouse to take his elective share shall be deemed a disclaimer of any beneficial interest of the spouse in the following, to the extent that such interest would otherwise be payable to or enjoyed by the spouse after the decedent's death:

(1)  Property subject to the spouse's election not awarded to the spouse as part of his elective share.

(2)  Property appointed by the decedent's exercise of a general or special power of appointment, and property passing in default of appointment to the extent that the decedent had power to exclude his spouse from any interest therein.

(3)  Property in any trust created by the decedent during his lifetime.

(4)  Proceeds of insurance, including accidental death benefits, on the life of the decedent attributable to premiums paid by him, his employer, partner or creditor.

(5)  Any annuity contract purchased by the decedent, his employer, partner or creditor.

(6)  Any pension, profit sharing, stock bonus, deferred compensation, disability, death benefit or other plan established by an employer for the benefit of its employees and their beneficiaries, exclusive of the Federal social security system and railroad retirement system, by reason of services performed or disabilities incurred by the decedent.

(7)  Community property in the proportion that it represents the decedent's earnings or contributions.

(8)  All intangible or tangible personal property and all real property owned by the decedent and his spouse by the entireties or jointly with right of survivorship, in the proportion that such property represents contributions by the decedent.

(9)  All intangible or tangible personal property and all real property given to his spouse by the decedent during his lifetime which, or the proceeds of which, are still owned by his spouse at the time of the decedent's death.

(b)  Conveyances and releases.--Except as provided in subsection (c), if any of the foregoing beneficial interests has already been accepted or cannot be disclaimed for any other reason, the spouse shall be entitled to an elective share only if the spouse conveys or releases such interest to those who would take it if the spouse had disclaimed it, and such conveyance or release shall be valid regardless of any spendthrift or similar provision.

(c)  Charges against elective share.--Notwithstanding the provisions of subsections (a) and (b), the spouse may elect to retain any beneficial interest described in subsection (a) which immediately after the decedent's death consists of property owned by the spouse outright or in fee simple absolute, and have the value thereof at the time of the decedent's death charged against the elective share. The value at the time of the decedent's death of any beneficial interest described in subsection (a), regardless of its form, shall also be so charged against the elective share to the extent that it cannot be disclaimed, conveyed or released. If any property retained by the spouse pursuant to this subsection would have reverted to the personal representative of the decedent's estate under section 2211(b)(2) and (3) (relating to determination of effect of election; enforcement) had the property been disclaimed, its value shall be added to the value of the property passing by will or intestacy for the purpose of computing the spouse's elective share under section 2203(a)(1) (relating to right of election; resident decedent).

(d)  Definition of "beneficial interest".--The term "beneficial interest" as used in this section shall include any power of appointment or power of consumption and any benefit arising from a direction by the decedent regarding the source of payment of inheritance or estate taxes.

(e)  Conditional decree.--Any award to the electing spouse shall be conditioned upon:

(1)  the spouse's delivery, in recordable form in the case of real estate, of such disclaimers, releases or conveyances as may be appropriate to insure protection to the person or persons entitled to disclaimed, released or conveyed property; and

(2)  the filing with the court of proof of compliance with the condition.

20c2204v

(July 11, 1980, P.L.565, No.118, eff. 60 days; Dec. 16, 1992, P.L.1163, No.152, eff. imd.)

 

1992 Amendment.  Act 152 amended subsec. (a)(8) and (9). Section 27(d) of Act 152 provided that the amendment of subsec. (a)(8) and (9) shall apply to the estates of decedents dying on or after the effective date of Act 152.

1980 Amendment.  Act 118 amended subsec. (c).

Cross References.  Section 2204 is referred to in section 2205 of this title.

20c2205s

§ 2205.  Transfers for value excluded.

Conveyances and contracts made by the decedent are excluded from the provisions of section 2203 (relating to right of election; resident decedent) and section 2204 (relating to disclaimers, releases and charges against elective share), to the extent that the decedent received adequate consideration therefor in money or money's worth.

20c2206s

§ 2206.  Right of election personal to surviving spouse.

The right of election of the surviving spouse may be exercised in whole or in part only during his lifetime by him or by his agent in accordance with section 5603(d) (relating to implementation of power of attorney). In the case of a minor spouse, the right of election may be exercised in whole or in part only by the spouse's guardian; in the case of an incapacitated spouse, the right of election may be exercised in whole or in part only by the spouse's guardian or by his agent in accordance with section 5603(d) if the power of attorney qualifies as a durable power of attorney under section 5604 (relating to durable powers of attorney); provided, that, in each case, the election shall be exercised only upon order of the court having jurisdiction of the minor's or the incapacitated person's estate, after finding that exercise of the right is advisable.

20c2206v

(Feb. 18, 1982, P.L.45, No.26, eff. imd.; Apr. 16, 1992, P.L.108, No.24, eff. 60 days; Oct. 12, 1999, P.L.422, No.39, eff. 60 days)

 

1999 Amendment.  See section 13(8) of Act 39 in the appendix to this title for special provisions relating to applicability.

1992 Amendment.  See section 21 of Act 24 in the appendix to this title for special provisions relating to applicability.

Cross References.  Section 2206 is referred to in section 5603 of this title.

20c2207s

§ 2207.  Waiver of right to elect.

The right of election of a surviving spouse may be waived, wholly or partially, before or after marriage or before or after the death of the decedent.

20c2208s

§ 2208.  Forfeiture of right of election.

A surviving spouse who under the provisions of section 2106 (relating to forfeiture) would not be entitled to a share of the decedent's estate had he died intestate shall have no right of election.

20c2209s

§ 2209.  Surviving spouse as witness.

A person who is or claims to be the surviving spouse shall be a competent witness as to all matters pertinent to his rights under this chapter other than the creation of his status as the surviving spouse.

20c2209v

(Feb. 18, 1982, P.L.45, No.26, eff. imd.)

 

1982 Amendment.  Section 13 of Act 26 provided that the amendment shall be effective as of June 17, 1978, and shall apply to the estates of all decedents dying on or after that date.

20c2210s

§ 2210.  Procedure for election; time limit.

(a)  How election made.--A surviving spouse's election to take or not to take his elective share shall be by a writing signed by him and filed with the clerk of the orphans' court division of the county where the decedent died domiciled. Notice of the election shall be given to the decedent's personal representative, if any.

(b)  Time limit.--The election must be filed with the clerk before the expiration of six months after the decedent's death or before the expiration of six months after the date of probate, whichever is later. The court may extend the time for election for such period and upon such terms and conditions as the court shall deem proper under the circumstances on application of the surviving spouse filed with the clerk within the foregoing time limit. Failure to file an election in the manner and within the time limit set forth in this section shall be deemed a waiver of the right of election.

(c)  Costs.--The costs of filing and recording the election shall be reimbursed out of the estate as a part of the administration expenses.

20c2210v

(Feb. 18, 1982, P.L.45, No.26, eff. imd.)

20c2211s

§ 2211.  Determination of effect of election; enforcement.

(a)  Power of court of domicile.--After notice and hearing, the orphans' court division of the county of the decedent's domicile shall determine all matters concerning the spouse's election, including the interests and liabilities of the spouse and others in or with respect to all property, regardless of its situs, which is subject to the election or which must be disclaimed, released or conveyed by the spouse or charged against the elective share.

(b)  Effect of election.--In exercising its powers under subsection (a), the court shall honor any provision in the decedent's will or other conveyance concerning interests of those other than his spouse in the event of an election. Subject to any such provision, the court shall be guided by the following rules but shall have the power to supplement or to depart from them if, in its opinion, a different determination of the rights of the spouse and others would more nearly carry out what would have been the particular decedent's intention had he known of the election:

(1)  In general.--Property which otherwise would pass by intestacy shall first be applied toward satisfaction of the spouse's elective share. The balance of the elective share shall then be charged separately against each conveyance subject to the election, the passing of property by will to be treated as a conveyance for this purpose, but the spouse shall have no right to share in any particular item of property within each conveyance. After the value of the electing spouse's fractional interest in each conveyance at the time of distribution is determined, items of property within the conveyance may be allocated disproportionately at distribution values between the elective and nonelective shares in order to give maximum effect to the decedent's intention with respect to the disposition of particular items or kinds of property. Property in the nonelective share shall be distributed among the beneficiaries of each conveyance in accordance with the rules of abatement or by analogy thereto.

(2)  Disclaimed interests contingent on survival.--If a surviving spouse has disclaimed an interest which would have terminated at the spouse's death or was contingent upon the spouse surviving the decedent, the interests of others shall be as they would have been if the spouse had predeceased the decedent.

(3)  Other disclaimed interests.--Except as above provided, disclaimed interests shall pass to other beneficiaries of the conveyance according to section 2514 (relating to rules of interpretation), which may be applied by analogy to inter vivos conveyances or, where those provisions cannot be applied, by way of reversion to the personal representative of the decedent's estate.

(4)  Windfalls.--If the election and disclaimers, releases and conveyances by a surviving spouse in connection therewith result in an increase in the value of the interest of a beneficiary, the court may require contributions from such a beneficiary, directly or by sequestering the disclaimed, released or conveyed interests, in relief of other beneficiaries, so that no beneficiary will receive more value than he would have received in the absence of the election.

(c)  Enforcement.--The rights of the electing spouse may be enforced, as the court considers appropriate, by orders, decrees or judgments requiring the performance of specific acts by, or imposing personal liability on:

(1)  any fiduciary, custodian or obligor to the extent that he is in possession of property subject to the spouse's election or its proceeds; or

(2)  the original beneficial recipient of such property or the donee of that recipient, including successive donees, to the extent that each donee is in possession of such property or its proceeds.

Any such order, decree or judgment of the orphans' court division of the county of the decedent's domicile under this section may be further enforced as necessary by suits in other courts. The liabilities as determined by the court may be enforced against fewer than all persons against whom relief could be sought but no person shall be subject to contribution in any greater amount than he would have been if full relief had been secured against all persons subject to contribution.

(d)  Restraining orders.--The court on petition of a surviving spouse may restrain any person from making a payment or transfer of property which may be subject to the spouse's election, either before or after an election is made.

(e)  Protection of fiduciaries, custodians and obligors.--Unless restrained by court decree, no fiduciary, custodian or obligor, other than the personal representative of the decedent's estate, shall be liable for making such payments or distributions of property subject to the spouse's election as would have been required by the terms of the conveyance or contract in the absence of an election.

(f)  Transferees and lienholders for value.--No transferee of or holder of a lien against property subject to a spouse's election shall be liable to a surviving spouse if the transferee or lienholder has given a bona fide consideration, unless a certified copy of an order or decree of court providing to the contrary with respect to real property has been recorded in the office for the recording of deeds of the county where the real estate lies prior to the recording of the transfer or the entry of the lien of record. The recording of any such order or decree shall be indexed in the grantor's index under the name of the decedent.

20c2211v

 

Cross References.  Section 2211 is referred to in sections 2202, 2204, 5603 of this title.

20c2501h

 

 

CHAPTER 25

WILLS

 

Sec.

2501.  Who may make a will.

2502.  Form and execution of a will.

2503.  Nuncupative wills (Repealed).

2504.  Witnesses (Repealed).

2504.1. Validity of execution.

2505.  Revocation of a will.

2506.  Revival of revoked or invalid will.

2507.  Modification by circumstances.

2508.  Change by election of surviving spouse (Repealed).

2509.  Forfeiture of right of election (Repealed).

2510.  How election made (Repealed).

2511.  Time for making election (Repealed).

2512.  Failure to make an election (Repealed).

2513.  Grantee or lienholder (Repealed).

2514.  Rules of interpretation.

2515.  Devise or bequest to trust.

2516.  Devise in fee tail abolished.

2517.  Rule in Shelley's case and doctrine of worthier title.

2518.  Alienage.

2519.  Testamentary guardian.

2520.  Personal estate of nonresident (Repealed).

2521.  Penalty clause for contest.

 

Enactment.  Chapter 25 was added June 30, 1972, P.L.508, No.164, effective July 1, 1972.

Cross References.  Chapter 25 is referred to in section 6306 of this title; section 5603 of Title 23 (Domestic Relations).

20c2501s

§ 2501.  Who may make a will.

Any person 18 or more years of age who is of sound mind may make a will.

20c2501v

(Dec. 6, 1972, P.L.1461, No.331; Dec. 10, 1974, P.L.867, No.293, eff. imd.; July 9, 1976, P.L.551, No.135, eff. imd.)

20c2502s

§ 2502.  Form and execution of a will.

Every will shall be in writing and shall be signed by the testator at the end thereof, subject to the following rules and exceptions:

(1)  Words following signature.--The presence of any writing after the signature to a will, whether written before or after its execution, shall not invalidate that which precedes the signature.

(2)  Signature by mark.--If the testator is unable to sign his name for any reason, a will to which he makes his mark and to which his name is subscribed before or after he makes his mark shall be as valid as though he had signed his name thereto: Provided, That he makes his mark in the presence of two witnesses who sign their names to the will in his presence.

(3)  Signature by another.--If the testator is unable to sign his name or to make his mark for any reason, a will to which his name is subscribed in his presence and by his express direction shall be as valid as though he had signed his name thereto: Provided, That he declares the instrument to be his will in the presence of two witnesses who sign their names to it in his presence.

20c2502v

(Dec. 10, 1974, P.L.867, No.293, eff. imd.; Dec. 1, 1994, P.L.655, No.102, eff. 60 days)

 

1994 Amendment.  Act 102 amended the intro. par. and par. (2). Section 10 of Act 102 provided that the amendment of the intro. par. and par. (2) shall apply to wills executed on or after the effective date of Act 102.

Cross References.  Section 2502 is referred to in sections 2504.1, 3132.1, 3154 of this title.

20c2503s

§ 2503.  Nuncupative wills (Repealed).

20c2503v

 

1974 Repeal.  Section 2503 was repealed December 10, 1974, P.L.867, No.293, effective immediately.

20c2504s

§ 2504.  Witnesses (Repealed).

20c2504v

 

1974 Repeal.  Section 2504 was repealed December 10, 1974, P.L.867, No.293, effective immediately.

20c2504.1s

§ 2504.1.  Validity of execution.

A will is validly executed if executed in compliance with section 2502 (relating to form and execution of a will), or in compliance with the law of the jurisdiction where the testator was domiciled at the time of the execution of the will or at the time of his death.

20c2504.1v

(Dec. 10, 1974, P.L.867, No.293, eff. imd.)

 

1974 Amendment.  Act 293 added section 2504.1.

20c2505s

§ 2505.  Revocation of a will.

No will or codicil in writing, or any part thereof, can be revoked or altered otherwise than:

(1)  Will or codicil.--By some other will or codicil in writing;

(2)  Other writing.--By some other writing declaring the same, executed and proved in the manner required of wills; or

(3)  Act to the document.--By being burnt, torn, canceled, obliterated, or destroyed, with the intent and for the purpose of revocation, by the testator himself or by another person in his presence and by his express direction. If such act is done by any person other than the testator, the direction of the testator must be proved by the oaths or affirmations of two competent witnesses.

20c2506s

§ 2506.  Revival of revoked or invalid will.

If, after the making of any will, the testator shall execute a later will which expressly or by necessary implication revokes the earlier will, the revocation of the later will shall not revive the earlier will, unless the revocation is in writing and declares the intention of the testator to revive the earlier will, or unless, after such revocation, the earlier will shall be reexecuted. Oral republication of itself shall be ineffective to revive a will.

20c2507s

§ 2507.  Modification by circumstances.

Wills shall be modified upon the occurrence of any of the following circumstances, among others:

(1)  Death within 30 days; religious and charitable gifts.--(Repealed).

(2)  Divorce or pending divorce.--Any provision in a testator's will in favor of or relating to the testator's spouse shall become ineffective for all purposes unless it appears from the will that the provision was intended to survive a divorce, if the testator:

(i)  is divorced from such spouse after making the will; or

(ii)  dies domiciled in this Commonwealth during the course of divorce proceedings, no decree of divorce has been entered pursuant to 23 Pa.C.S. § 3323 (relating to decree of court) and grounds have been established as provided in 23 Pa.C.S. § 3323(g).

(3)  Marriage.--If the testator marries after making a will, the surviving spouse shall receive the share of the estate to which he would have been entitled had the testator died intestate, unless the will shall give him a greater share or unless it appears from the will that the will was made in contemplation of marriage to the surviving spouse.

(4)  Birth or adoption.--If the testator fails to provide in his will for his child born or adopted after making his will, unless it appears from the will that the failure was intentional, such child shall receive out of the testator's property not passing to a surviving spouse, such share as he would have received if the testator had died unmarried and intestate owning only that portion of his estate not passing to a surviving spouse.

(5)  Slaying.--Any person who participates either as a principal or as an accessory before the fact in the willful and unlawful killing of any person shall not in any way acquire property or receive any benefits as the result of the willful and unlawful killing but such property or benefits shall be distributed as provided by Chapter 88 (relating to slayers).

20c2507v

(July 9, 1976, P.L.551, No.135, eff. imd.; Dec. 16, 1992, P.L.1163, No.152, eff. imd.; Oct. 27, 2010, P.L.837, No.85, eff. 60 days)

 

2010 Amendment.   Act 85 amended par. (2).

1992 Amendment.   Act 152 amended pars. (2) and (3). Section 27(d) of Act 152 provided that the amendment of pars. (2) and (3) shall apply to the estates of decedents dying on or after the effective date of Act 152.

1976 Repeal.   Act 135 repealed par. (1).

Cross References.   Section 2507 is referred to in section 3153 of this title.

20c2508s

§ 2508.  Change by election of surviving spouse (Repealed).

20c2508v

 

1978 Repeal.  Section 2508 was repealed April 18, 1978, P.L.42, No.23, effective in 60 days.

20c2509s

§ 2509.  Forfeiture of right of election (Repealed).

20c2509v

 

1978 Repeal.  Section 2509 was repealed April 18, 1978, P.L.42, No.23, effective in 60 days.

20c2510s

§ 2510.  How election made (Repealed).

20c2510v

 

1978 Repeal.  Section 2510 was repealed April 18, 1978, P.L.42, No.23, effective in 60 days.

20c2511s

§ 2511.  Time for making election (Repealed).

20c2511v

 

1978 Repeal.  Section 2511 was repealed April 18, 1978, P.L.42, No.23, effective in 60 days.

20c2512s

§ 2512.  Failure to make an election (Repealed).

20c2512v

 

1978 Repeal.  Section 2512 was repealed April 18, 1978, P.L.42, No.23, effective in 60 days.

20c2513s

§ 2513.  Grantee or lienholder (Repealed).

20c2513v

 

1978 Repeal.  Section 2513 was repealed April 18, 1978, P.L.42, No.23, effective in 60 days.

20c2514s

§ 2514.  Rules of interpretation.

In the absence of a contrary intent appearing therein, wills shall be construed as to real and personal estate in accordance with the following rules:

(1)  Wills construed as if executed immediately before death.--(Repealed).

(1.1)  Construction that will passes all property.--A will shall be construed to apply to all property which the testator owned at his death, including property acquired after the execution of his will.

(2)  After-acquired property.--(Repealed).

(3)  Devises of real estate.--All devises of real estate shall pass the whole estate of the testator in the premises devised, although there be no words of inheritance or of perpetuity.

(4)  Meaning of "heirs" and "next of kin," etc.; time of ascertaining class.--A devise or bequest of real or personal estate, whether directly or in trust, to the testator's or another designated person's "heirs" or "next of kin" or "relatives" or "family" or to "the persons thereunto entitled under the intestate laws" or to persons described by words of similar import, shall mean those persons, including the spouse, who would take under the intestate laws if the testator or other designated person were to die intestate at the time when such class is to be ascertained, a resident of the Commonwealth, and owning the estate so devised or bequeathed: Provided, however, That the share of a spouse, other than the spouse of the testator, shall not include the allowance under the intestate laws. The time when such class is to be ascertained shall be the time when the devise or bequest is to take effect in enjoyment.

(5)  Time for ascertaining class.--In construing a devise or bequest to a class other than a class described in section 2514(4), the class shall be ascertained at the time the devise or bequest is to take effect in enjoyment, except that the issue then living of any member of the class who is then dead shall take per stirpes the share which their deceased ancestor would have taken if he had then been living.

(6)  Meaning of "die without issue" and similar phrases.--In any devise or bequest of real or personal estate, the words "die without issue," "die without leaving issue," "have no issue," or other words importing either a want or failure of issue of any person in his lifetime or at the time of his death, or an indefinite failure of his issue, shall be construed to mean a want or failure of issue in his lifetime or at his death, and not an indefinite failure of his issue.

(7)  Adopted children.--In construing paragraphs (9), (10) and (11) of this section, relating to lapsed and void devises and legacies, and in construing a will making a devise or bequest to a person or persons described by relationship to the testator or to another, any adopted person shall be considered the child of his adopting parent or parents, except that, in construing the will of a testator who is not the adopting parent, an adopted person shall not be considered the child of his adopting parent or parents unless the adoption occurred during the adopted person's minority or reflected an earlier parent-child relationship that existed during the child's minority. An adopted person who is considered the child of his adopting parent or parents under this paragraph shall not be considered as continuing to be the child of his natural parents except in construing the will of a natural kin, other than the natural parent, who has maintained a family relationship with the adopted person. If a natural parent shall have married the adopting parent, the adopted person shall also be considered the child of such natural parent.

(8)  Persons born out of wedlock.--In construing paragraphs (9), (10) and (11), relating to lapsed and void devises and legacies, and in construing a will making a devise or bequest to a person or persons described by relationship to the testator or to another, a person born out of wedlock shall be considered the child of the natural mother and also of the natural father if paternity of the natural father has been determined pursuant to the provisions of section 2107 (relating to persons born out of wedlock).

(9)  Lapsed and void devises and legacies; substitution of issue.--A devise or bequest to a child or other issue of the testator or to his brother or sister or to a child of his brother or sister whether designated by name or as one of a class shall not lapse if the beneficiary shall fail to survive the testator and shall leave issue surviving the testator but shall pass to such surviving issue who shall take per stirpes the share which their deceased ancestor would have taken had he survived the testator: Provided, That such a devise or bequest to a brother or sister or to the child of a brother or sister shall lapse to the extent to which it will pass to the testator's spouse or issue as a part of the residuary estate or under the intestate laws.

(10)  Lapsed and void devises and legacies; shares not in residue.--A devise or bequest not being part of the residuary estate which shall fail or be void because the beneficiary fails to survive the testator or because it is contrary to law or otherwise incapable of taking effect or which has been revoked by the testator or is undisposed of or is released or disclaimed by the beneficiary, if it shall not pass to the issue of the beneficiary under the provisions of paragraph (9) hereof, and if the disposition thereof shall not be otherwise expressly provided for by law, shall be included in the residuary devise or bequest, if any, contained in the will.

(11)  Lapsed and void devises and legacies; shares in residue.--When a devise or bequest as described in paragraph (10) hereof shall be included in a residuary clause of the will and shall not be available to the issue of the devisee or legatee under the provisions of paragraph (9) hereof, and if the disposition shall not be otherwise expressly provided for by law, it shall pass to the other residuary devisees or legatees, if any there be, in proportion to their respective shares or interests in the residue.

(12)  Real estate subject to a mortgage.--(Repealed).

(12.1)  Property subject to a security interest.--A specific devise or bequest of real or personal property passes that property subject to any security interest therein existing at the date of the testator's death, without any right of exoneration out of any other estate of the testator regardless whether the security interest was created by the testator or by a previous owner and any general directive in the will to pay debts.

(13)  Power of appointment.--A general devise of the real estate of the testator, or of the real estate of the testator in any place, or in the occupation of any person mentioned in his will, or otherwise described in a general manner, shall be construed to include any real estate, or any real estate to which such description shall extend, as the case may be, which he shall have power to appoint in any manner he shall think proper, and shall operate as an execution of such power. In like manner, a bequest of the personal estate of the testator, or any bequest of personal property described in a general manner, shall be construed to include any personal estate, or any personal estate to which such description shall extend, as the case may be, which he shall have power to appoint in any manner he shall think proper, and shall operate as an execution of such power. In like manner, a general pecuniary legacy, when the assets of the individual estate of the testator are not sufficient for its payment, shall, to the extent necessary to make possible the payment of the legacy, be construed to include any estate which the testator shall have power to appoint in any manner he shall think proper, and shall to such extent operate as an execution of such power.

(14)  Cemetery lot.--If in a will no express disposition or other mention is made of a cemetery lot owned by the testator at his decease and wherein he or any member of his family is buried, the ownership of the lot shall not pass from his lawful heirs by a residuary or other general clause of the will but shall descend to his heirs as if he had died intestate.

(15)  Inheritance tax.--The inheritance tax imposed by the Inheritance and Estate Tax Act of 1961 upon the transfer of real or personal property which passes by will absolutely and in fee, and which is not part of the residuary estate, shall be paid out of the residuary estate and charged in the same manner as a general administration expense. Such inheritance tax imposed upon the transfer of any estate, income or interest for a term of years, for life or for other limited period, shall be paid out of the principal of the property by which the estate income or interest is supported.

(16)  Ademption.--(Repealed).

(16.1)  Nonademption; incapacity.--If property of an adjudicated incapacitated person specifically devised or bequeathed is sold or exchanged or if a condemnation award or insurance proceeds are paid to the estate of an incapacitated person as a result of condemnation, fire or casualty, the specific legatee or devisee has the right to the net sale price, the property received in exchange, the condemnation award or the insurance proceeds. This paragraph does not apply if subsequent to the sale, exchange, condemnation, or casualty, the testator has been adjudicated not to be an incapacitated person and survives the adjudication by one year.

(16.2)  Nonademption; agent.--If an agent under a power of attorney, during the time that his principal is an incapacitated person within the meaning of section 5501 (relating to meaning of incapacitated person), sells or exchanges property of the principal which is specifically devised or bequeathed, the specific legatee or devisee has the right to the net sale price or the property received in exchange. For the purposes of this paragraph, a sale or exchange of property made by an agent shall be deemed to have been made during the time that the principal is an incapacitated person, unless shown to the contrary. This paragraph does not apply if it is shown that for a period of at least one year subsequent to the sale or exchange the principal was not an incapacitated person within the meaning of section 5501.

(17)  Change in securities.--If the testator intended a specific bequest of securities owned by him at the time of the execution of his will, rather than the equivalent value thereof, the legatee is entitled only to:

(i)  as much of those securities as formed a part of the testator's estate at the time of his death;

(ii)  any additional or other securities issued by the same entity thereon and owned by the testator by reason of a stock dividend, stock split or other action by the entity, excluding any acquired by exercise of purchase options for more than a fractional share; and

(iii)  securities of another entity received thereon or in exchange therefor and owned by the testator as a result of a merger, consolidation or reorganization of the entity or other similar change.

(18)  Nonademption; balance.--A devisee or legatee of property specifically devised or bequeathed has the right to any of that property which the testator still owned at his death and:

(i)  any balance of the purchase price or balance of property to be received in exchange, together with any security interest, owing from a purchaser to the testator at his death by reason of a sale or exchange of the property by the testator;

(ii)  any amount due for the condemnation of the property and unpaid at the testator's death;

(iii)  any proceeds unpaid at the testator's death on fire or casualty insurance on the property; and

(iv)  property owned by the testator at his death as a result of foreclosure, or obtained in lieu of foreclosure, of the security for a specifically bequeathed obligation.

(19)  Employee benefits.--Benefits received by a trust under a Federally qualified profit sharing, pension or stock bonus plan shall not be available for the payment of obligations of the decedent or of his estate.

(20)  Corporate fiduciaries.--Provisions authorizing or restricting investment in the securities or common trust funds of a corporate fiduciary or the exercise of voting rights in its securities shall also apply to the securities or common trust funds of any corporation which is an affiliate of the corporate fiduciary within the meaning of section 1504 of the Internal Revenue Code of 1986 (Public Law 99-514, 26 U.S.C. § 1504).

20c2514v

(July 9, 1976, P.L.551, No.135, eff. imd.; Nov. 26, 1978, P.L.1269, No.303, eff. imd.; Oct. 12, 1984, P.L.929, No.182, eff. imd.; Apr. 16, 1992, P.L.108, No.24, eff. 60 days; Dec. 16, 1992, P.L.1163, No.152, eff. imd.; Oct. 12, 1999, P.L.422, No.39, eff. 60 days)

 

1999 Amendment.  Act 39 amended par. (16.2). See section 13(8) of Act 39 in the appendix to this title for special provisions relating to applicability.

1992 Amendments.  Act 24 amended pars. (16.1) and (16.2) and Act 152 added par. (20). See section 21 of Act 24 in the appendix to this title for special provisions relating to applicability. See section 27(b) of Act 152 in the appendix to this title for special provisions relating to applicability.

1978 Amendment.  Act 303 amended par. (8). Section 5 of Act 303 provided that Act 303 shall not apply to wills or conveyances executed prior to the effective date of Act 303 or to rights from and through a child's father if the father had died prior to the effective date of Act 303.

1976 Amendment.  Act 135 amended par. (7), repealed pars. (1), (2), (12) and (16) and added pars. (1.1), (12.1), (16.1), (17), (18) and (19).

References in Text.  The act of June 15, 1961 (P.L.373, No.207), known as the Inheritance and Estate Tax Act of 1961, referred to in par. (15), was repealed by the act of December 13, 1982 (P.L.1086, No.255). The subject matter is now contained in Article XXI of the act of March 4, 1971 (P.L.6, No.2), known as the Tax Reform Code of 1971.

Cross References.  Section 2514 is referred to in section 2211 of this title.

20c2515s

§ 2515.  Devise or bequest to trust.

A devise or bequest in a will may be made to the trustee of a trust, including any unfunded trust, established in writing by the testator or any other person before, concurrently with or after the execution of the will. Such devise or bequest shall not be invalid because the trust is amendable or revocable, or both, or because the trust was amended after execution of the will. Unless the will provides otherwise, the property so devised or bequeathed shall not be deemed held under a testamentary trust of the testator but shall become and be a part of the principal of the trust to which it is given to be administered and disposed of in accordance with the provisions of the instrument establishing that trust and any amendment thereof. An entire revocation of the trust prior to the testator's death shall invalidate the devise or bequest unless the will directs otherwise.

20c2515v

(Dec. 16, 1992, P.L.1163, No.152, eff. imd.)

 

1992 Amendment.  See section 27(b) of Act 152 in the appendix to this title for special provisions relating to applicability.

20c2516s

§ 2516.  Devise in fee tail abolished.

Whenever by any devise an estate in fee tail would be created according to the common law of the Commonwealth, it shall pass an estate in fee simple, and as such shall be inheritable and freely alienable.

20c2517s

§ 2517.  Rule in Shelley's case and doctrine of worthier title.

(a)  Rule in Shelley's case.--The rule in Shelley's case and its corollaries shall not be applied, and a devise or bequest directly or in trust which shall express an intent to create an estate for life with remainder to the life tenant's heirs or the heirs of his body or his issue or his next of kin or persons described by words of similar import shall not operate to give such life tenant an estate in fee in real estate or an absolute estate in personalty.

(b)  Doctrine of worthier title.--The doctrine of worthier title shall not be applied as a rule of law or as a rule of construction. Language in a governing instrument describing the beneficiaries of a disposition as the transferor's heirs, heirs at law, next of kin, distributees, relatives or family or language of similar import shall not create or presumptively create a reversionary interest in the transferor.

20c2517v

(Dec. 1, 1994, P.L.655, No.102, eff. 60 days)

 

1994 Amendment.  Section 10 of Act 102 provided that the amendment of section 2517 shall apply to wills executed, trusts created and conveyances made before, on or after the effective date of Act 102.

20c2518s

§ 2518.  Alienage.

Real and personal estate shall pass without regard to whether the testator or any devisee or legatee is or has been an alien.

20c2519s

§ 2519.  Testamentary guardian.

(a)  Guardian of the person.--A person competent to make a will, being the sole surviving parent or adopting parent of any unmarried minor child, may appoint a testamentary guardian of the person of such child during his minority, or for any shorter period except that no parent who, for one year or upwards previous to his death, shall have willfully neglected or refused to provide for his child, or who, for a like period, shall have deserted the child or willfully failed to perform parental duties, shall have the right to appoint a testamentary guardian of the person of such child.

(b)  Guardian of the estate.--Any person may by will appoint a guardian of real or personal property passing to a minor upon his death, when such property:

(1)  Is devised, bequeathed or appointed to the minor in that person's will or descends from that person to the minor by intestacy.

(2)  Is the proceeds of an insurance or annuity contract on the testator's life, unless the owner of the contract has made an inter vivos designation of a guardian therefor.

(3)  Arises from an inter vivos transfer, the major portion of which constituted a gift from the testator, unless the testator has made an inter vivos designation of a guardian therefor.

(4)  Is a cause of action arising by reason of the testator's death.

(5)  Is a pension or death benefit from an employer of the testator or a society or organization of which the testator was a member.

(6)  Is a tentative trust of which the testator was the settlor.

20c2519v

(Oct. 4, 1978, P.L.909, No.173, eff. 60 days)

 

1978 Amendment.  Act 173 amended subsec. (a).

Cross References.  Section 2519 is referred to in section 5615 of Title 23 (Domestic Relations).

20c2520s

§ 2520.  Personal estate of nonresident (Repealed).

20c2520v

 

1976 Repeal.  Section 2520 was repealed July 9, 1976, P.L.551, No.135, effective immediately.

20c2521s

§ 2521.  Penalty clause for contest.

A provision in a will or trust purporting to penalize an interested person for contesting the will or trust or instituting other proceedings relating to the estate or trust is unenforceable if probable cause exists for instituting proceedings.

20c2521v

(Dec. 1, 1994, P.L.655, No.102, eff. 60 days)

 

1994 Amendment.  Act 102 added section 2521. Section 10 of Act 102 provided that section 2521 shall apply to wills executed, trusts created and conveyances made before, on or after the effective date of Act 102.

20c2701h

 

 

CHAPTER 27

CONTRACTUAL ARRANGEMENTS RELATING

TO SUCCESSION

 

Sec.

2701.  Contracts concerning succession.

 

Enactment.  Chapter 27 was added December 16, 1992, P.L.1163, No.152, effective immediately.

 

20c2701s

§ 2701.  Contracts concerning succession.

(a)  Establishment of contract.--A contract to die intestate or to make or not to revoke a will or testamentary provision or an obligation dischargeable only at or after death can be established in support of a claim against the estate of a decedent only by:

(1)  provisions of a will of the decedent stating material provisions of the contract;

(2)  an express reference in a will of the decedent to a contract and extrinsic evidence proving the terms of the contract; or

(3)  a writing signed by the decedent evidencing the contract.

(b)  Joint will or mutual wills.--The execution of a joint will or mutual wills does not create a presumption of a contract not to revoke the will or wills.

20c2707s

§ 2707.  Disabled veterans and former prisoners of war.

(a)  General rule for disabled veterans.--Any disabled veteran who has a disability incurred in any war or armed conflict which consists of the loss of one or more limbs, or the loss of use of one or more limbs, or total blindness, or who is 100% disabled as certified by the United States Department of Veterans Affairs, and who meets the qualifications of section 2701 (relating to resident fishing licenses), shall be issued a free resident fishing license upon application to the commission or a county treasurer. An application submitted by a disabled veteran shall, in addition to any information required under section 2701, contain a statement that the applicant is a war or armed conflict veteran and that the qualifying disability was service incurred. The issuing agent or the commission may require the production of the discharge papers of the applicant.

(a.1)  General rule for former prisoners of war.--A former prisoner of war who meets the qualifications of section 2701 shall be issued a resident fishing license at the cost of $1 upon application to the commission or a county treasurer. An application submitted by a former prisoner of war shall, in addition to any information required under section 2701, contain a statement that the applicant is a former prisoner of war. As used in this subsection, the term "former prisoner of war" means an individual who was imprisoned by enemy forces while in the service of the armed forces of the United States as certified by the appropriate branch of the armed forces of the United States.

(b)  Lifetime licenses.--

(1)  If a disabled veteran who qualifies for issuance of a free resident fishing license under subsection (a) presents documentation to show that the qualifying disability is permanent, the commission or county treasurer shall issue a disabled veteran lifetime fishing license.

(2)  A former prisoner of war who meets the qualifications of section 2701(b) shall be issued a senior resident lifetime fishing license at the cost of $1 upon application to the commission or a county treasurer.

(c)  Home rule and optional plan counties.--In a county where there is no county treasurer by virtue of a home rule charter or optional plan of government, the county official who performs the functions of a county treasurer and who has been designated an issuing agent by the commission shall issue free resident fishing licenses to disabled veterans and reduced fee resident fishing licenses to former prisoners of war under this section.

20c2801h

 

 

CHAPTER 28

FORMULA CLAUSES FOR FEDERAL TAX PURPOSES

 

Sec.

2801.  Definitions.

2802.  Interpretation of formula clauses.

2803.  Judicial proceeding.

 

Enactment.  Chapter 28 was added October 27, 2010, P.L.837, No.85, effective immediately.

Applicability.  Section 9(1) of Act 85 of 2010 provided that Chapter 28 shall apply to any decedent dying after December 31, 2009.

20c2801s

§ 2801.  Definitions.

The following words and phrases when used in this chapter shall have the meanings given to them in this section unless the context clearly indicates otherwise:

"Formula clause."  A clause that has any of the following characteristics:

(1)  Refers to the unified credit, estate tax exemption, applicable exemption amount, applicable credit amount, applicable exclusion amount, generation-skipping transfer tax exemption, GST exemption, marital deduction, maximum marital deduction, unlimited marital deduction or charitable deduction, or other words relating to Federal tax exemptions, exclusions, deductions or credits where the meaning of the words is dependent on the current state of the Federal tax laws.

(2)  Measures a share of an estate or trust based on the amount that can pass free of Federal estate taxes or affects the inclusion ratio for generation-skipping transfer tax purposes.

(3)  Is based on a similar provision of Federal estate tax or generation-skipping transfer tax law.

"Other dispositive instrument."  Includes the following:

(1)  A beneficiary designation pertaining to insurance or retirement assets.

(2)  An instrument that exercises a power of appointment held by the decedent at death.

(3)  A similar instrument that:

(i)  expresses a decedent's intent regarding assets over which the decedent had dispositive authority at death; or

(ii)  otherwise disposes of assets as a result of the decedent's death.

20c2802s

§ 2802.  Interpretation of formula clauses.

(a)  General rule.--Except as provided in subsection (b) and subject to section 2803 (relating to judicial proceeding), a will, trust or other dispositive instrument of a decedent who dies after December 31, 2009, and before January 1, 2011, that contains a formula clause shall be rebuttably presumed to be interpreted pursuant to the Federal estate tax and generation-skipping transfer tax laws applicable to estates of decedents dying on December 31, 2009.

(b)  Exception.--

(1)  Subsection (a) shall not apply with respect to a will, trust or other dispositive instrument that:

(i)  is executed or amended after December 31, 2009; or

(ii)  manifests an intent that a contrary rule shall apply if the decedent dies on a date on which there is no applicable Federal estate tax or generation-skipping transfer tax in effect.

(2)  If the Federal estate tax or generation-skipping transfer tax applies to an estate of a decedent dying or generation-skipping transfer occurring before January 1, 2011, then with respect to each such Federal tax, the initial reference to January 1, 2011, in this section shall refer instead to the first date after December 31, 2009, on which such tax applies to decedents' estates or generation-skipping transfers.

20c2803s

§ 2803.  Judicial proceeding.

(a)  Standing.--The decedent's personal representative, trustee or any affected beneficiary under the will, trust or other dispositive instrument may bring a proceeding to interpret a formula clause.

(b)  Commencement.--A proceeding under this section must be commenced within 12 months following the death of the decedent.

(c)  Considerations.--In a proceeding under this section, the court shall consider all of the following:

(1)  The provisions and purposes of the will, trust or other dispositive instrument.

(2)  The facts surrounding the creation of the will, trust or other dispositive instrument.

(3)  The decedent's known or probable intent, based on all the facts and circumstances surrounding the creation of the will, trust or other dispositive instrument. In determining this intent, the court may consider evidence that contradicts the plain meaning of the will, trust or other dispositive instrument.

(4)  The identity and interests of beneficiaries of different shares resulting from the application of the formula clause.

(d)  Modifications.--The court shall have the power to modify a provision of a will, trust or other dispositive instrument in a manner that is not contrary to the decedent's probable intention in order to achieve the decedent's tax and other objectives.

(e)  Effective date of interpretation or modification.--The court may provide that an interpretation or modification pursuant to this chapter shall be effective as of the decedent's date of death.

20c2803v

 

Cross References.  Section 2803 is referred to in section 2802 of this title.

20c3101h

 

 

CHAPTER 31

DISPOSITIONS INDEPENDENT OF LETTERS;

FAMILY EXEMPTION; PROBATE OF WILLS

AND GRANT OF LETTERS

 

Subchapter

A.  Dispositions Independent of Letters

B.  Family Exemption

C.  Probate

D.  Grant of Letters

E.  Personal Representative; Bond

F.  Personal Representative; Revocation of Letters; Removal and Discharge

 

Enactment.  Chapter 31 was added June 30, 1972, P.L.508, No.164, effective July 1, 1972.

 

 

SUBCHAPTER A

DISPOSITIONS INDEPENDENT OF LETTERS

 

Sec.

3101.  Payments to family and funeral directors.

3102.  Settlement of small estates on petition.

 

Cross References.  Subchapter A is referred to in section 3126 of this title.

20c3101s

§ 3101.  Payments to family and funeral directors.

(a)  Wages, salary or employee benefits.--Any employer of a person dying domiciled in this Commonwealth at any time after the death of the employee, whether or not a personal representative has been appointed, may pay wages, salary or any employee benefits due the deceased in an amount not exceeding $5,000 to the spouse, any child, the father or mother, or any sister or brother (preference being given in the order named) of the deceased employee. Any employer making such a payment shall be released to the same extent as if payment had been made to a duly appointed personal representative of the decedent and he shall not be required to see to the application thereof. Any person to whom payment is made shall be answerable therefor to anyone prejudiced by an improper distribution.

(b)  Deposit account.--Any bank, savings association, savings and loan association, building and loan association, credit union or other savings organization, at any time after the death of a depositor, member or certificate holder, shall pay the amount on deposit or represented by the certificate, when the total standing to the credit of the decedent in that institution does not exceed $10,000, to the spouse, any child, the father or mother or any sister or brother (preference being given in the order named) of the deceased depositor, member or certificate holder, provided that a receipted funeral bill or an affidavit, executed by a licensed funeral director which sets forth that satisfactory arrangements for payment of funeral services have been made, is presented. Any bank, association, credit union or other savings organization making such a payment shall be released to the same extent as if payment had been made to a duly appointed personal representative of the decedent and it shall not be required to see to the application thereof. Any person to whom payment is made shall be answerable therefor to anyone prejudiced by an improper distribution.

(c)  Patient's care account.--When the decedent was a qualified recipient of medical assistance from the Department of Public Welfare, the facility in which he was a patient may make payment of funds, if any, remaining in the patient's care account, for the decedent's burial expenses to a licensed funeral director in an amount not exceeding $10,000 whether or not a personal representative has been appointed. After the payment of decedent's burial expenses, the facility may pay the balance of decedent's patient's care account, as long as the payments, including the payment for burial expenses, does not exceed $10,000, to the spouse, any child, the father or mother or any sister or brother (preference being given in the order named) of the deceased patient. Any facility making such a payment shall be released to the same extent as if payment had been made to a duly appointed personal representative of the decedent and it shall not be required to see to the application thereof. Any licensed funeral director or other person to whom payment is made shall be answerable therefor to anyone prejudiced by an improper distribution.

(d)  Life insurance payable to estate.--Any insurance company which upon the death of an individual residing in this Commonwealth owes his estate a total amount of $11,000 or less under any policy of life, endowment, accident or health insurance, or under any annuity or pure endowment contract, may at any time after 60 days following his death pay all or any part of that amount to the spouse, any child, the father or mother or any sister or brother of the decedent (preference being given in the order named) provided that at the time of the payment no written claim for that money has been received at the office of the company specified in the policy or contract for the receipt of claims from any duly appointed personal representative of the decedent. Any insurance company making any payment in accordance with this section to an adult may rely on the affidavit of any of the persons named in this subsection concerning the existence and relationship of these persons and shall be released to the same extent as if payment had been made to a duly appointed personal representative of the decedent and the insurance company shall not be required to see to the application thereof. Any person to whom payment is made shall be answerable therefor to anyone prejudiced by an improper distribution.

(e)  Unclaimed property.--

(1)  In any case where property or funds owned by an individual who has died a resident of this Commonwealth have been reported to the Commonwealth and are in the custody of the State Treasurer as unclaimed or abandoned property, the State Treasurer, at any time after the death of the individual, shall be authorized under this section to distribute the property or to pay the amount being held in custody where all of the following conditions are present:

(i)  The amount of the funds or the value of the property is $11,000 or less.

(ii)  The person claiming the property or the funds is the surviving spouse, child, mother or father, or sister or brother of the decedent, with preference given in that order.

(iii)  A personal representative of the decedent has not been appointed or five years have lapsed since the appointment of a personal representative of the decedent.

(2)  Upon being presented with a claim for property owned by a decedent, the State Treasurer shall require the person claiming the property to provide all of the following prior to distributing the property or paying the amount held in custody:

(i)  A certified death certificate of the owner.

(ii)  A sworn affidavit under the penalties of 18 Pa.C.S. § 4904 (relating to unsworn falsification to authorities) setting forth the relationship of the claimant to the decedent, the existence or nonexistence of a duly appointed personal representative of the decedent and any other persons that may be entitled under this section to make a claim to the decedent's property.

(iii)  Other information determined by the State Treasurer to be necessary in order to distribute property or pay funds under this section to the proper person.

(3)  If the State Treasurer determines the claimant to be a person entitled to claim property of a decedent owner, the State Treasurer shall pay or distribute such property to the claimant and shall thereby be released to the same extent as if payment or distribution had been made to a duly appointed personal representative of the decedent and shall not be required to oversee the application of the payments made. Any claimant to whom payment is made shall be answerable therefore to anyone prejudiced by an improper distribution or payment.

20c3101v

(May 10, 1974, P.L.282, No.84, eff. imd.; Dec. 19, 1975, P.L.598, No.168, eff. imd.; July 9, 1976, P.L.551, No.135, eff. imd.; July 11, 1980, P.L.565, No.118, eff. 60 days; Feb. 18, 1982, P.L.45, No.26, eff. imd.; June 28, 1993, P.L.181, No.38, eff. imd.; Dec. 1, 1994, P.L.655, No.102, eff. 60 days; June 28, 2002, P.L.478, No.80, eff. imd.; July 2, 2013, P.L.199, No.35, eff. 60 days)

 

2013 Amendment.  Act 35 amended subsecs. (b) and (c). Section 2 of Act 35 provided that the amendment of subsecs. (b) and (c) shall apply to estates of decedents dying on or after the effective date of section 2.

2002 Amendment.  Act 80 added subsec. (e).

1994 Amendment.  Act 102 amended subsec. (a). Section 10 of Act 102 provided that the amendment of subsec. (a) shall apply to the estates of decedents dying on or after the effective date of Act 102.

1982 Amendment.  Act 26 amended subsec. (c) and added subsec. (d).

Cross References.  Section 3101 is referred to in section 3102 of this title.

20c3102s

§ 3102.  Settlement of small estates on petition.

When any person dies domiciled in the Commonwealth owning property (exclusive of real estate and of property payable under section 3101 (relating to payments to family and funeral directors), but including personal property claimed as the family exemption) of a gross value not exceeding $50,000, the orphans' court division of the county wherein the decedent was domiciled at the time of his death, upon petition of any party in interest, in its discretion, with or without appraisement, and with such notice as the court shall direct, and whether or not letters have been issued or a will probated, may direct distribution of the property (including property not paid under section 3101) to the parties entitled thereto. The authority of the court to award distribution of personal property under this section shall not be restricted because of the decedent's ownership of real estate, regardless of its value. The decree of distribution so made shall constitute sufficient authority to all transfer agents, registrars and others dealing with the property of the estate to recognize the persons named therein as entitled to receive the property to be distributed without administration, and shall in all respects have the same effect as a decree of distribution after an accounting by a personal representative. Within one year after such a decree of distribution has been made, any party in interest may file a petition to revoke it because an improper distribution has been ordered. If the court shall find that an improper distribution has been ordered, it shall revoke the decree and shall direct restitution as equity and justice shall require.

20c3102v

(Dec. 10, 1974, P.L.867, No.293, eff. imd.; July 11, 1980, P.L.565, No.118, eff. 60 days; Dec. 1, 1994, P.L.655, No.102, eff. 60 days; July 2, 2013, P.L.199, No.35, eff. 60 days)

 

2013 Amendment.  Section 2 of Act 35 provided that the amendment of section 3102 shall apply to estates of decedents dying on or after the effective date of section 2.

1994 Amendment.  Section 10 of Act 102 provided that the amendment of section 3102 shall apply to estates of decedents dying on or after the effective date of Act 102.

20c3121h

 

 

SUBCHAPTER B

FAMILY EXEMPTION

 

Sec.

3121.  When allowable.

3122.  Payment or delivery of exemption.

3123.  Payment from real estate.

3124.  Income.

3125.  Other remedies.

3126.  Grantee or lienholder.

20c3121s

§ 3121.  When allowable.

The spouse of any decedent dying domiciled in the Commonwealth, and if there be no spouse, or if he has forfeited his rights, then such children as are members of the same household as the decedent, and in the event there are no such children, then the parent or parents of the decedent who are members of the same household as the decedent, may retain or claim as an exemption either real or personal property, or both, not theretofore sold by the personal representative, to the value of $3,500: Provided, That property specifically devised or bequeathed by the decedent, or otherwise specifically disposed of by him, may not be so retained or claimed if other assets are available for the exemption. The surviving husband or wife shall be a competent witness as to all matters pertinent to the issue of forfeiture of the right to exemption.

20c3121v

(June 27, 1974, P.L.383, No.130, eff. imd.; Dec. 1, 1994, P.L.655, No.102, eff. 60 days)

 

1994 Amendment.  Section 10 of Act 102 provided that the amendment of section 3121 shall apply to the estates of decedents dying on or after the effective date of Act 102.

20c3122s

§ 3122.  Payment or delivery of exemption.

(a)  Items claimed.--The personal representative, if any, shall deliver to the spouse, child or children, parent or parents, the items of personal property claimed as the exemption, at the values fixed by the inventory and appraisement.

(b)  Property set aside for minors or incapacitated persons.--When any spouse, child or parent entitled to all or part of the exemption is a minor or an incapacitated person, the guardian of his estate, and if no such guardian has been appointed then the personal representative, without request made to him by anyone, shall select, for the use and benefit of the minor or incapacitated person, real or personal property to the full value to which he is entitled, and in so doing the guardian or personal representative shall be governed by the necessities of the minor or incapacitated person in the circumstances of each case.

(c)  Control of court.--On petition of any party in interest, the court, with or without appraisal and on such notice as it shall direct, may control the distribution and the valuation of articles of personal property retained or claimed.

20c3122v

(Dec. 10, 1974, P.L.867, No.293, eff. imd.; Apr. 16, 1992, P.L.108, No.24, eff. 60 days)

 

1992 Amendment.  Act 24 amended subsec. (b). See section 21 of Act 24 in the appendix to this title for special provisions relating to applicability.

20c3123s

§ 3123.  Payment from real estate.

(a)  Appraisement.--If the exemption is claimed in whole or in part out of real estate, the appraisement of the real estate shall be made by two appraisers appointed by the court, upon petition and after such notice as the court shall direct. The orphans' court division of the county where letters testamentary or of administration have been granted, or should no letters have been granted then of the county within which was the family or principal residence of the decedent, shall have jurisdiction concerning the exemption, whether the real estate is situate in that county or in any other county of the Commonwealth. When real estate is located outside of the county of original jurisdiction, the orphans' court division of the county of original jurisdiction may, in its discretion, direct that an application for the appointment of appraisers shall be made to the orphans' court division of the county in which the real estate is located. The appraisers so appointed shall fix the value of the real estate as of the date of presenting the petition for their appointment and shall receive such compensation as shall be allowed by the court appointing them. Exceptions to appraisements shall be filed with the court of original jurisdiction which may, in its discretion, refer the exceptions to the orphans' court division of the county in which the real estate is located. Upon compliance with such requirements of notice as the court shall direct, the court of original jurisdiction may confirm the appraisement and set apart the real estate to the surviving spouse, child or children, parent or parents entitled thereto.

(b)  Real estate valued at more than amount claimed.--When the real estate of the decedent cannot be divided so as to set apart the amount claimed without prejudice to or spoiling the whole or any parcel of it and the appraisers shall value such real estate or parcel thereof at any sum exceeding the amount claimed, it shall be lawful for the orphans' court division of original jurisdiction to confirm the appraisement and to set apart such real estate or parcel thereof for the use of the surviving spouse, child or children, parent or parents, conditioned, however, that the surviving spouse, child or children, parent or parents shall pay the amount of the valuation in excess of the amount claimed, without interest, within six months from the date of confirmation of the appraisement. If the surviving spouse, child or children, parent or parents shall refuse to take the real estate or parcel thereof at the appraisement, or shall fail to make payment as provided above, the court, on application of any party in interest, may direct the personal representative or a trustee appointed by the court to sell the same and the sale in such case shall be upon such terms and security as the court shall direct.

(c)  Payment of surplus.--The real estate, if taken by the surviving spouse, child or children, parent or parents, shall vest in him or them, upon his or their payment of the surplus above so much of the exemption as shall be claimed out of the real estate to the parties entitled thereto or to the personal representative of the decedent, as the court, in its discretion, shall direct. If the real estate is sold, so much of the exemption as shall be claimed out of it shall be paid out of the purchase money to the surviving spouse, child or children, parent or parents entitled thereto, and the balance, after payment of costs, shall be distributed to the parties entitled thereto or to the personal representative of the decedent, as the court, in its discretion, shall direct.

(d)  Recording and registering decrees.--A certified copy of every decree confirming an appraisement of real estate and setting it apart to the surviving spouse, child or children, parent or parents shall be recorded in the deed book in the office of the recorder of deeds of each county where the real estate shall lie, shall be indexed by the recorder in the grantor's index under the name of the decedent and in the grantee's index under the name of such surviving spouse, child or children, parent or parents, and shall be registered in the survey bureau or with the proper authorities empowered to keep a register of real estate in the county: Provided, That no decree conditioned upon payment of any surplus by the surviving spouse, child or children, parent or parents shall be recorded or registered unless there is offered for recording, concurrently therewith, written evidence of the payment of such surplus.

(e)  Costs and expenses.--All costs, appraisers' fees and expenses of recording and registering incurred in claiming the exemption shall be part of the general administration expenses of the estate.

20c3124s

§ 3124.  Income.

When the family exemption does not exhaust the entire real and personal estate, the income of the estate shall be equitably prorated among the surviving spouse, child or children, parent or parents and the others taking the estate.

20c3125s

§ 3125.  Other remedies.

The surviving spouse, child or children, parent or parents may also collect the exemption out of real and personal estate, together with income thereon, in the manner provided by law for the collection of legacies.

20c3126s

§ 3126.  Grantee or lienholder.

(a)  Rights accruing before death; purchase money obligation.--Nothing in Subchapter A of this chapter (relating to dispositions independent of letters) and this subchapter shall be construed as impairing any lien existing at death for the purchase money of real estate.

(b)  Rights accruing after death.--A decree setting apart a family exemption shall be void as against a subsequent bona fide grantee of, or holder of a lien on, real estate, unless the decree granting the exemption from real estate, or a duplicate original or certified copy thereof, is recorded in the deed book in the office of the recorder of deeds in the county in which the real estate lies, within one year after the death of the decedent, or, if thereafter, then before the recording or entering of the instrument or lien under which such grantee or lienholder claims.

20c3131h

 

 

SUBCHAPTER C

PROBATE

 

Sec.

3131.  Place of probate.

3132.  Manner of probate.

3132.1. Self-proved wills.

3133.  Limit of time for probate.

3134.  Nuncupative wills (Repealed).

3135.  Wills in foreign language.

3136.  Wills probated outside the Commonwealth.

3137.  Enforcing production of will.

3138.  Later will or codicil.

20c3131s

§ 3131.  Place of probate.

The will of a decedent domiciled in the Commonwealth at the time of his death shall be probated only before the register of the county where the decedent had his last family or principal residence. If the decedent had no domicile in the Commonwealth, his will may be probated before the register of any county where any of his property is located.

20c3132s

§ 3132.  Manner of probate.

All wills shall be proved by the oaths or affirmations of two competent witnesses and

(1)  Will signed by testator.--In the case of a will to which the testator signed his name, proof by subscribing witnesses, if there are such, shall be preferred to the extent that they are readily available, and proof of the signature of the testator shall be preferred to proof of the signature of a subscribing witness.

(2)  Will signed by mark or by another.--In the case of a will signed by mark or by another in behalf of the testator, the proof must be by subscribing witnesses, except to the extent that the register is satisfied that such proof cannot be adduced by the exercise of reasonable diligence. In that event other proof of the execution of the will, including proof of the subscribers' signatures, may be accepted, and proof of the signature of a witness who has subscribed to an attestation clause shall be prima facie proof that the facts recited in the attestation clause are true.

(3)  Nuncupative will.--(Repealed).

20c3132v

(Dec. 10, 1974, P.L.867, No.293, eff. imd.)

 

1974 Repeal.  Act 293 repealed par. (3).

20c3132.1s

§ 3132.1.  Self-proved wills.

(a)  Proof.--Unless there is a contest with respect to the validity of the will, or unless the will is signed by mark or by another as provided in section 2502 (relating to form and execution of a will), an affidavit of witness made in conformity with this section shall be accepted by the register as proof of the facts stated as if it had been made under oath before the register at the time of probate.

(b)  Acknowledgment and affidavits.--An attested will may at the time of its execution or at any subsequent date be made self-proved by the acknowledgment thereof by the testator and the affidavits of the witnesses, each made before an officer authorized to administer oaths under the laws of this Commonwealth or under the laws of the state where execution occurs, or made before an attorney at law and certified to such an officer as provided in subsection (c) and evidenced, in either case, by the officer's certificate, under official seal, attached or annexed to the will. A separate affidavit may be used for each witness whose affidavit is not taken at the same time as the testator's acknowledgment. The acknowledgment and affidavits shall in form and content be substantially as set forth in the Uniform Probate Code or as follows:

 

Acknowledgment

 

Commonwealth of Pennsylvania (or State of ____________)

County of ____________

I, ________________, the testator whose name is signed to the attached or foregoing instrument, having been duly qualified according to law, do hereby acknowledge that I signed and executed the instrument as my Last Will; and that I signed it willingly and as my free and voluntary act for the purposes therein expressed.

Sworn to or affirmed and acknowledged before me

by ____________________________, the testator, this ______

day of _____________, 19____.

________________________________

(Testator)

________________________________

(Signature of officer or attorney)

(Seal and official capacity of

officer or state of admission of

attorney)

 

Affidavit

 

Commonwealth of Pennsylvania (or State of ____________)

County of ____________

We (or I), ________________ and ________________, the witness(es) whose name(s) are (is) signed to the attached or foregoing instrument, being duly qualified according to law, do depose and say that we were (I was) present and saw the testator sign and execute the instrument as his Last Will; that the testator signed willingly and executed it as his free and voluntary act for the purposes therein expressed; that each subscribing witness in the hearing and sight of the testator signed the will as a witness; and that to the best of our (my) knowledge the testator was at that time 18 or more years of age, of sound mind and under no constraint or undue influence.

Sworn to or affirmed and subscribed to before me

by ________________ and ________________, witness(es), this

______ day of ______________, 19____.

________________________________

Witness

________________________________

Witness

________________________________

________________________________

(Signature of officer or attorney)

(Seal and official capacity of

officer or state of admission of

attorney)

(c)  Acknowledgment and affidavit taken before an attorney at law.--The acknowledgment of the testator and the affidavit of a witness required by subsection (b) may be made before a member of the bar of the Supreme Court of Pennsylvania or of the highest court of the state in which execution of the will occurs who certifies to an officer authorized to administer oaths that the acknowledgment and affidavit was made before him. In such case, in addition to the acknowledgment and affidavit required by subsection (b), the attorney's certification shall be evidenced by the officer before whom it was made substantially as follows:

 

Commonwealth of Pennsylvania (or State of ____________)

County of ____________

On this, the ________________ day of _______________, 19____, before me _________________, the undersigned officer, personally appeared ________________, known to me or satisfactorily proven to be a member of the bar of the highest court of (Pennsylvania or the state in which execution of the will took place), and certified that he was personally present when the foregoing acknowledgment and affidavit were signed by the testator and witnesses.

In witness whereof, I hereunto set my hand and official seal.

_____________________________

(Signature, seal and official

capacity of officer)

20c3132.1v

(June 24, 1976, P.L.434, No.105, eff. 60 days; Feb. 18, 1982, P.L.45, No.26, eff. imd.; Oct. 12, 1984, P.L.929, No.182, eff. imd.)

 

1984 Amendment.  Section 15 of Act 182 provided that Act 182 shall apply to the estates of all decedents dying on or after the effective date of Act 182.

Cross References.  Section 3132.1 is referred to in section 6204 of Title 42 (Judiciary and Judicial Procedure).

20c3133s

§ 3133.  Limit of time for probate.

(a)  Original probate.--A will may be offered for probate at any time.

(b)  Conclusiveness of original probate.--The probate of a will shall be conclusive as to all property, real or personal, devised or bequeathed by it, unless an appeal shall be taken from probate as provided in section 908 (relating to appeals), or the probate record shall have been amended as authorized by section 3138 (relating to later will or codicil).

(c)  Effect upon grantee or lienholder.--A will offered for original or subsequent probate more than one year after the testator's death shall be void against a bona fide grantee or holder of a lien on real estate of the testator if the conveyance or lien is entered of record before the will is offered for probate.

20c3133v

(Dec. 10, 1974, P.L.867, No.293, eff. imd.; July 11, 1980, P.L.565, No.118, eff. 60 days)

 

1980 Amendment.  Act 118 amended subsec. (c).

1974 Amendment.  Act 293 amended subsec. (a).

20c3134s

§ 3134.  Nuncupative wills (Repealed).

20c3134v

 

1974 Repeal.  Section 3134 was repealed December 10, 1974, P.L.867, No.293, effective immediately.

20c3135s

§ 3135.  Wills in foreign language.

A writing not in English shall not be filed for probate or for any other purpose in the office of the register unless there is attached to it and filed with it a translation into English, sworn to be correct. The register shall attach the translation to the original and shall file them in his office, and in all cases where a recording is now or hereafter may be required, both the original and the translation shall be recorded. A writing filed in violation of this section shall not constitute notice to any person.

20c3136s

§ 3136.  Wills probated outside the Commonwealth.

A duly authenticated copy of a will proved outside of the Commonwealth according to the law of the place of probate may be offered for probate before any register having jurisdiction, and letters testamentary or of administration with a will annexed may be granted thereon as though the original will had been offered before such register. If, in addition to such copy, there shall be produced a duly authenticated copy of the record of the probate proceeding of the original instrument, the will shall be entitled to probate in this Commonwealth and appropriate letters shall be issued thereon without the production or examination of the witnesses to prove such will, unless the will was probated outside of the United States and the record shows or it is satisfactorily proved that an essential requirement of Pennsylvania law for a valid will has not been met. If the will was probated outside of the United States, the probate proceedings may be supplemented by the submission of additional evidence to the register.

20c3137s

§ 3137.  Enforcing production of will.

The register, at the request of any party in interest, shall issue a citation directed to any person alleged to have possession or control of a will of a decedent requiring him to show cause why it should not be deposited with him. In the absence of good cause shown, the register shall order the will to be deposited with him.

20c3137v

(Dec. 10, 1974, P.L.867, No.293, eff. imd.)

20c3138s

§ 3138.  Later will or codicil.

If a later will or codicil is submitted to the register for probate within three months of the testator's death but after the register shall have probated an earlier instrument, the register, after such notice as he deems advisable, but with at least ten-days' notice to the petitioner who presented the probated instrument if he has not requested probate of the later will or codicil, shall have power to open the probate record, receive proof of the later instrument or instruments and amend his probate record.

20c3138v

 

Cross References.  Section 3138 is referred to in section 3133 of this title.

20c3151h

 

 

SUBCHAPTER D

GRANT OF LETTERS

 

Sec.

3151.  Proper county.

3152.  When 21 years elapsed.

3153.  Contents of petition.

3154.  Affidavit and oath.

3155.  Persons entitled.

3156.  Persons not qualified.

3157.  Nonresidents.

3158.  Letters of administration C.T.A.

3159.  Letters of administration D.B.N. or D.B.N.C.T.A.

3160.  Letters of administration durante minoritate, durante absentia, and pendente lite.

3161.  Oath of personal representative.

3162.  Advertisement of grant of letters.

20c3151s

§ 3151.  Proper county.

Letters testamentary or of administration on the estate of a decedent domiciled in the Commonwealth at the time of his death shall be granted only by the register of the county where the decedent had his last family or principal residence. If the decedent had no such domicile in the Commonwealth, letters testamentary or of administration may be granted by the register of any county wherein property of the estate shall be located and, when granted, shall be exclusive throughout the Commonwealth. If the decedent had no such domicile in the Commonwealth, and had no property located therein, and service of process is to be made in the Commonwealth upon his personal representative as authorized by law, then letters testamentary or of administration on his estate may be granted by the register of any county of the Commonwealth and, when granted, shall be exclusive throughout the Commonwealth.

20c3152s

§ 3152.  When 21 years elapsed.

Letters testamentary or of administration shall not be granted after the expiration of 21 years from the decedent's death, except on the order of the court, upon cause shown.

20c3153s

§ 3153.  Contents of petition.

A petition for the grant of letters testamentary or of administration shall state, under oath, so far as they are known:

(1)  The decedent's name, age, state or country of domicile, his last family or principal residence, and the place and day of his death.

(2)  If the decedent died intestate, the name and residence address of the surviving spouse, if any, and the names, relationships and residence addresses of other heirs.

(3)  If the decedent died testate, whether the will was modified by the occurrence of any of the circumstances delineated in section 2507 (relating to modification by circumstances).

(4)  If the decedent was domiciled in the Commonwealth at the time of his death, the estimated value of all his personal property, and the estimated value and the location of his real property situated in the Commonwealth.

(5)  If the decedent was not domiciled in the Commonwealth at the time of his death, the estimated value of his personal property in the Commonwealth, the estimated value of his personal property in the county in which the petition is filed, and the estimated value and location of his real property in the Commonwealth.

(6)  The name and residence address of each person to whom letters are requested to be granted.

(7)  Any other facts necessary to entitle the petitioner to letters.

20c3153v

(Dec. 10, 1974, P.L.867, No.293, eff. imd.; July 11, 1980, P.L.565, No.118, eff. 60 days)

 

1980 Amendment.  Act 118 amended par. (1).

1974 Amendment.  Act 293 amended par. (3).

20c3154s

§ 3154.  Affidavit and oath.

(a)  Fiduciary and witness.--The affidavit to a petition for the grant of letters and the oath of the fiduciary relative to the performance of his duties and, except as provided in subsection (b), the oath of a witness relative to probate of a will shall be taken before and administered by:

(1)  Within the Commonwealth.--The register of any county of the Commonwealth.

(2)  Outside of the Commonwealth.--A public officer of another jurisdiction having duties similar to those of a register who has been authorized to do so by the register of the county where the application for letters is to be made.

(b)  Subscribing witness.--Unless there is a contest with respect to the validity of the will or unless the will is signed by mark or by another under section 2502(2) or (3) (relating to form and execution of a will), the oath of a subscribing witness relative to probate of a will may be taken before an officer authorized to administer oaths under the laws of this Commonwealth or under the laws of another state.

20c3154v

(July 14, 1988, P.L.553, No.99, eff. imd.)

 

Cross References.  Section 3154 is referred to in section 911 of this title.

20c3155s

§ 3155.  Persons entitled.

(a)  Letters testamentary.--Letters testamentary shall be granted by the register to the executor designated in the will, whether or not he has declined a trust under the will.

(b)  Letters of administration.--Letters of administration shall be granted by the register, in such form as the case shall require, to one or more of those hereinafter mentioned and, except for good cause, in the following order:

(1)  Those entitled to the residuary estate under the will.

(2)  The surviving spouse.

(3)  Those entitled under the intestate law as the register, in his discretion, shall judge will best administer the estate, giving preference, however, according to the sizes of the shares of those in this class.

(4)  The principal creditors of the decedent at the time of his death.

(5)  Other fit persons.

(6)  If anyone of the foregoing shall renounce his right to letters of administration, the register, in his discretion, may appoint a nominee of the person so renouncing in preference to the persons set forth in any succeeding paragraph.

(7)  A guardianship support agency serving as guardian of an incapacitated person who dies during the guardianship administered pursuant to Subchapter F of Chapter 55 (relating to guardianship support).

(8)  A redevelopment authority formed pursuant to the act of May 24, 1945 (P.L.991, No.385), known as the Urban Redevelopment Law.

(c)  Time limitation.--Except with the consent of those enumerated in paragraphs (1), (2) and (3), no letters shall be issued to those enumerated in paragraph (4), (5) or (8) of subsection (b) until 30 days after the decedent's death.

(d)  Death charges.--Notwithstanding the provisions of subsections (a) and (b), the register shall not grant letters testamentary or letters of administration to any person charged, whether by indictment, information or otherwise, by the United States, the Commonwealth or any of the several states, with voluntary manslaughter or homicide, except homicide by vehicle, in connection with a decedent's death unless and until the charge is withdrawn, dismissed or a verdict of not guilty is returned.

20c3155v

(Apr. 16, 1992, P.L.108, No.24, eff. 60 days; Dec. 20, 2000, P.L.838, No.118, eff. 60 days; Nov. 29, 2006, P.L.1536, No.171, eff. 60 days)

 

Cross References.  Section 3155 is referred to in sections 3181, 3182 of this title.

20c3156s

§ 3156.  Persons not qualified.

No person shall be qualified to serve as a personal representative who is:

(1)  Under 18 years of age.

(2)  A corporation not authorized to act as fiduciary in the Commonwealth.

(3)  A person, other than an executor designated by name or description in the will, found by the register to be unfit to be entrusted with the administration of the estate.

(4)  The nominee of any beneficiary, legatee or person having any interest whatsoever, when such beneficiary, legatee or person is a citizen or resident of any country outside the territorial limits or possessions of the United States, when it shall appear doubtful to the register that in the distribution of the estate any such person will have the actual benefit, use, enjoyment or control of the money or other property representing his share or interest therein.

(5)  Charged, whether by indictment, information or otherwise, by the United States, the Commonwealth or any of the several states, with voluntary manslaughter or homicide, except homicide by vehicle, in connection with a decedent's death unless and until the charge is withdrawn, dismissed or a verdict of not guilty is returned.

20c3156v

(Dec. 6, 1972, P.L.1461, No.331; Dec. 20, 2000, P.L.838, No.118, eff. 60 days)

 

2000 Amendment.  Act 118 added par. (5).

1972 Amendment.  Act 331 amended par. (1).

Cross References.  Section 3156 is referred to in sections 3181, 3182 of this title.

20c3157s

§ 3157.  Nonresidents.

The register shall have discretion to refuse letters of administration to any individual not a resident of this Commonwealth.

20c3157v

(Apr. 28, 1978, P.L.202, No.53, eff. 60 days)

20c3158s

§ 3158.  Letters of administration C.T.A.

When there is a will, but no executor qualifies, letters of administration cum testamento annexo may be granted to the person or persons entitled thereto.

20c3159s

§ 3159.  Letters of administration D.B.N. or D.B.N.C.T.A.

When an entire vacancy occurs in the office of personal representative before administration is completed, the register, in a case of intestacy, shall grant letters of administration de bonis non, and in the case of testacy, letters de bonis non cum testamento annexo, to the person or persons entitled thereto.

20c3160s

§ 3160.  Letters of administration durante minoritate, durante absentia, and pendente lite.

Whenever the circumstances of the case require, letters of administration durante minoritate, durante absentia, or pendente lite may be granted to any fit person or persons, after such notice, if any, as the register shall require.

20c3161s

§ 3161.  Oath of personal representative.

Before letters shall be granted to a personal representative by the register, the personal representative shall swear that he will well and truly administer the estate according to law. The oath of a corporate personal representative may be taken by any of its officers.

20c3162s

§ 3162.  Advertisement of grant of letters.

(a)  Notice generally.--The personal representative, immediately after the grant of letters, shall cause notice thereof to be given in one newspaper of general circulation published at or near the place where the decedent resided or, in the case of a nonresident decedent, at or near the place where the letters were granted, and in the legal periodical, if any, designated by rule of court for the publication of legal notices, once a week for three successive weeks, together with his name and address; and in every such notice, he shall request all persons having claims against the estate of the decedent to make known the same to him or his attorney, and all persons indebted to the decedent to make payment to him without delay.

(b)  Proofs of advertisement to trustee.--A personal representative who has advertised the grant of letters and received the notice required by section 7780.3(c) (relating to duty to inform and report) shall promptly send copies of the proofs of that advertisement to the trustee.

20c3162v

(Apr. 28, 1978, P.L.77, No.37, eff. 60 days; Oct. 27, 2010, P.L.837, No.85, eff. 60 days)

 

Cross References.  Section 3162 is referred to in section 7755 of this title.

20c3171h

 

 

SUBCHAPTER E

PERSONAL REPRESENTATIVE; BOND

 

Sec.

3171.  Individual estate.

3172.  Register's responsibility.

3173.  Fiduciary estate.

3174.  When not required.

3175.  Requiring or changing amount of bond.

20c3171s

§ 3171.  Individual estate.

Except as hereinafter provided, before letters shall be granted to any personal representative, he shall execute and file a bond which shall be in the name of the Commonwealth, with sufficient surety, in such amount as the register considers necessary, having regard to the value of the personal estate which will come into the control of the personal representative, and conditioned in the following form:

(1)  When one personal representative.--The condition of this obligation is, that if the said personal representative shall well and truly administer the estate according to law, this obligation shall be void; but otherwise, it shall remain in force.

(2)  When two or more personal representatives.--The condition of this obligation is, that if the said personal representatives or any of them shall well and truly administer the estate according to law, this obligation shall be void as to the personal representative or representatives who shall so administer the estate; but otherwise, it shall remain in force.

20c3172s

§ 3172.  Register's responsibility.

If any register shall grant letters without having taken such bond as is required by law, he and his surety shall be liable to pay all damages which shall accrue to any person by reason thereof. Nothing herein stated shall be deemed to relieve the personal representative from liability which would otherwise be imposed upon him by law.

20c3173s

§ 3173.  Fiduciary estate.

The register, in his discretion, upon the application of any party in interest, in addition to any bond required for the decedent's individual estate, may require a separate bond in the name of the Commonwealth, with sufficient surety, in such amount as the register shall consider necessary for the protection of the parties in interest in an estate of which the decedent was a fiduciary, and conditioned in the following form:

(1)  When one personal representative.--The condition of this obligation is, that if the said personal representative shall well and truly account for property held by the decedent as fiduciary according to law, this obligation shall be void; but otherwise, it shall remain in force.

(2)  When two or more personal representatives.--The condition of this obligation is, that if the said personal representatives or any of them shall well and truly account for property held by the decedent as fiduciary according to law, this obligation shall be void as to the personal representative or representatives who shall so account; but otherwise, it shall remain in force.

20c3174s

§ 3174.  When not required.

(a)  Corporate personal representative.--No bond shall be required of:

(1)  A bank and trust company or of a trust company incorporated in this Commonwealth.

(2)  A national bank having its principal office in this Commonwealth.

(3)  A foreign corporate fiduciary or a national bank having its principal office out of this Commonwealth, otherwise qualified to act if the laws of the state in which it is incorporated or in which the national bank is located provide a similar exemption for corporations existing under the laws of this Commonwealth.

(b)  Individual personal representative.--Unless a bond is ordered by the court or is required by the will, if any, no bond shall be required of an individual personal representative who:

(1)  Is named in the will as an original or successor personal representative and:

(i)  is a resident of this Commonwealth;

(ii)  has been excused from filing a bond by the express direction of the testator in his will; or

(iii)  is not a resident of this Commonwealth but will serve with a resident co-personal representative of whom no bond is required if the petition for letters includes an averment that all assets will remain in the custody and control of the resident co-personal representative.

(2)  Is not named in the will, if any, as an original or successor personal representative but is a resident of this Commonwealth and is either the sole residuary legatee or next of kin or is the nominee of all residuary legatees or next of kin who are adult and sui juris.

20c3174v

(July 9, 1976, P.L.551, No.135, eff. imd.; Apr. 18, 1978, P.L.42, No.23, eff. 60 days; July 11, 1980, P.L.565, No.118, eff. 60 days)

20c3175s

§ 3175.  Requiring or changing amount of bond.

The court, upon cause shown and after such notice, if any, as it shall direct, may require a surety bond, or increase or decrease the amount of an existing bond, or require more or less security therefor.

20c3181h

 

 

SUBCHAPTER F

PERSONAL REPRESENTATIVE; REVOCATION OF

LETTERS; REMOVAL AND DISCHARGE

 

Sec.

3181.  Revocation of letters.

3182.  Grounds for removal.

3183.  Procedure for and effect of removal.

3184.  Discharge of personal representative and surety.

20c3181s

§ 3181.  Revocation of letters.

(a)  When no will.--The register may revoke letters of administration granted by him whenever it appears that the person to whom the letters were granted is not entitled thereto.

(b)  When a will.--The register may amend or revoke letters testamentary or of administration granted by him not in conformity with the provisions of a will admitted to probate.

(c)  Death charges.--Whether or not a will has been submitted or admitted, the register may revoke letters testamentary or of administration when it appears that the person to whom the letters were granted has been charged with voluntary manslaughter or homicide, except homicide by vehicle, as set forth in sections 3155 (relating to persons entitled) and 3156 (relating to persons not qualified), provided that the revocation shall not occur on these grounds if and when the charge has been dismissed, withdrawn or terminated by a verdict of not guilty.

20c3181v

(Dec. 20, 2000, P.L.838, No.118, eff. 60 days)

 

2000 Amendment.  Act 118 added subsec. (c).

20c3182s

§ 3182.  Grounds for removal.

The court shall have exclusive power to remove a personal representative when he:

(1)  is wasting or mismanaging the estate, is or is likely to become insolvent, or has failed to perform any duty imposed by law; or

(2)  (Deleted by amendment).

(3)  has become incapacitated to discharge the duties of his office because of sickness or physical or mental incapacity and his incapacity is likely to continue to the injury of the estate; or

(4)  has removed from the Commonwealth or has ceased to have a known place of residence therein, without furnishing such security or additional security as the court shall direct; or

(4.1)  has been charged with voluntary manslaughter or homicide, except homicide by vehicle, as set forth in sections 3155 (relating to persons entitled) and 3156 (relating to persons not qualified), provided that the removal shall not occur on these grounds if the charge has been dismissed, withdrawn or terminated by a verdict of not guilty; or

(5)  when, for any other reason, the interests of the estate are likely to be jeopardized by his continuance in office.

20c3182v

(Apr. 16, 1992, P.L.108, No.24, eff. 60 days; Dec. 20, 2000, P.L.838, No.118, eff. 60 days)

 

2000 Amendment.  Act 118 added par. (4.1).

1992 Amendment.  See section 21 of Act 24 in the appendix to this title for special provisions relating to applicability.

Cross References.  Section 3182 is referred to in sections 5131, 5515 of this title.

20c3183s

§ 3183.  Procedure for and effect of removal.

The court on its own motion may, and on the petition of any party in interest alleging adequate grounds for removal shall, order the personal representative to appear and show cause why he should not be removed, or, when necessary to protect the rights of creditors or parties in interest, may summarily remove him. Upon removal, the court may direct the grant of new letters testamentary or of administration by the register to the person entitled and may, by summary attachment of the person or other appropriate orders, provide for the security and delivery of the assets of the estate, together with all books, accounts and papers relating thereto. Any personal representative summarily removed under the provisions of this section may apply, by petition, to have the decree of removal vacated and to be reinstated, and, if the court shall vacate the decree of removal and reinstate him, it shall thereupon make any orders which may be appropriate to accomplish the reinstatement.

20c3183v

 

Cross References.  Section 3183 is referred to in sections 5131, 5515, 7766 of this title.

20c3184s

§ 3184.  Discharge of personal representative and surety.

After confirmation of his final account and distribution to the parties entitled, a personal representative and his surety may be discharged by the court from future liability. The court may discharge only the surety from future liability, allowing the personal representative to continue without surety, upon condition that no further assets shall come into the control of the personal representative until he files another bond with sufficient surety, as required by the register.

20c3184v

 

Cross References.  Section 3184 is referred to in sections 5131, 5515, 7766, 7792 of this title.

20c3301h

 

 

CHAPTER 33

ADMINISTRATION AND PERSONAL REPRESENTATIVES

 

Subchapter

A.  Inventory

B.  Personal Representatives; Powers, Duties and Liabilities

C.  Sales, Pledges, Mortgages, Leases, Options and Exchanges

D.  Abatement, Survival and Control of Actions

E.  Claims; Charges; Rights of Creditors

 

Enactment.  Chapter 33 was added June 30, 1972, P.L.508, No.164, effective July 1, 1972.

 

 

SUBCHAPTER A

INVENTORY

 

Sec.

3301.  Duty of personal representative.

3302.  Valuations.

3303.  Supplemental inventory.

3304.  Claims against personal representative.

3305.  Objections to inventory.

20c3301s

§ 3301.  Duty of personal representative.

(a)  General assets.--Every personal representative shall file with the register a verified inventory of all real and personal estate of the decedent, except real estate outside of this Commonwealth. An ancillary personal representative shall include in the inventory only assets for which he is responsible.

(b)  Real estate outside of Commonwealth.--The inventory shall include at the end a memorandum of real estate outside of this Commonwealth. The memorandum, at the election of the personal representative, may indicate the value of each item of real estate included therein, but the values so fixed shall not be extended into the total of the inventory or included as real estate in subsequent accountings.

(c)  Time for filing.--The personal representative shall file his inventory no later than the date he files his account or the due date, including any extension, for the filing of the inheritance tax return for the estate, whichever is earlier. Any party in interest in the estate may request the filing of an inventory at an earlier date by writing delivered to the personal representative or his attorney in which event an inventory shall be filed within three months after the appointment of the personal representative or within 30 days after the request, whichever is later. The court may direct the  personal representative to file an inventory of estate assets at any time.

20c3301v

(Oct. 12, 1984, P.L.929, No.182, eff. imd.; Oct. 27, 2010, P.L.837, No.85, eff. 60 days)

 

2010 Amendment.  Act 85 amended subsec. (c).

20c3302s

§ 3302.  Valuations.

The personal representative shall determine and state in figures opposite each item of the inventory its fair value as of the date of the decedent's death.

20c3303s

§ 3303.  Supplemental inventory.

Whenever any property not included in the inventory comes to the knowledge of the personal representative, he shall file, within 30 days of its discovery, a supplemental inventory thereof with the register.

20c3304s

§ 3304.  Claims against personal representative.

The appointment of a personal representative shall not operate as a discharge or bequest of any debt which he owes the decedent or of any claim which the decedent had against him, but any such debt or claim, if it survives, shall be included in the inventory.

20c3305s

§ 3305.  Objections to inventory.

Objections to the inventory may be made by any party in interest at any time up to and including the time fixed by rule of court for making objections to the first account of the personal representative. Such objections in the discretion of the court may be heard at the audit of the account. Objections to the inventory also may be made in the form of objections to the account.

20c3311h

 

 

SUBCHAPTER B

PERSONAL REPRESENTATIVES; POWERS,

DUTIES AND LIABILITIES

 

Sec.

3311.  Possession of real and personal estate; exception.

3312.  Renunciation of right to administer property.

3313.  Liability insurance.

3314.  Continuation of business.

3315.  Incorporation of estate's business.

3316.  Investment of funds.

3316.1. Set-aside.

3317.  Claims against co-fiduciary.

3318.  Revival of judgments against personal representative.

3319.  Power of attorney; delegation of power over subscription        rights and fractional shares; authorized delegations.

3320.  Voting stock by proxy.

3321.  Nominee registration; corporate fiduciary as agent; deposit of securities in a clearing corporation; book- entry securities.

3322.  Acceptance of deed in lieu of foreclosure.

3323.  Compromise of controversies.

3324.  Death or incapacity of fiduciary.

3325.  Administrator C.T.A.

3326.  Administrator D.B.N. and D.B.N.C.T.A.

3327.  Surviving or remaining personal representatives.

3328.  Disagreement of personal representatives.

3329.  Effect of revocation of letters, probate of will, later will or codicil.

3330.  Notice of devise or bequest to corporation or association.

3331.  Liability of personal representative on contracts.

3332.  Inherent powers and duties.

20c3311s

§ 3311.  Possession of real and personal estate; exception.

(a)  Personal representative.--A personal representative shall have the right to and shall take possession of, maintain and administer all the real and personal estate of the decedent, except real estate occupied at the time of death by an heir or devisee with the consent of the decedent. He shall collect the rents and income from each asset in his possession until it is sold or distributed, and, during the administration of the estate, shall have the right to maintain any action with respect to it and shall make all reasonable expenditures necessary to preserve it. The court may direct the personal representative to take possession of, administer and maintain real estate so occupied by an heir or a devisee if this is necessary to protect the rights of claimants or other parties. Nothing in this section shall affect the personal representative's power to sell real estate occupied by an heir or devisee.

(b)  Redevelopment authority.--A redevelopment authority granted letters of administration shall have the power to take, clear, combine or transfer title to real property of the estate as necessary to return such property to productive use and, upon payment of fair market value of the property in its current state, to the estate.

20c3311v

(Nov. 29, 2006, P.L.1536, No.171, eff. 60 days)

20c3312s

§ 3312.  Renunciation of right to administer property.

When any property is of no value to the estate, the court may authorize the personal representative to renounce his right to administer it.

20c3313s

§ 3313.  Liability insurance.

The personal representative, at the expense of the estate, may protect himself, his employees and the beneficiaries by insurance from liability to third persons arising from the administration of the estate.

20c3313v

 

Cross References.  Section 3313 is referred to in sections 5144, 5521 of this title.

20c3314s

§ 3314.  Continuation of business.

The court, aided by the report of a master if necessary, may authorize the personal representative to continue any business of the estate for the benefit of the estate and in doing so the court, for cause shown, may disregard the provisions of the governing instrument, if any. The order may be with or without notice. If prior notice is not given to all parties in interest, it shall be given within five days after the order or within such extended time as the court, for cause shown, shall allow. Any party in interest may, at any time, petition the court to revoke or modify the order. The order may provide:

(1)  for the conduct of business, by the personal representative alone or jointly with others, or, unless restricted by the terms of the governing instrument, as a corporation to be formed;

(2)  the extent of the liability of the estate or any part thereof, or of the personal representative, for obligations incurred in the continuation of the business;

(3)  whether liabilities incurred in the conduct of the business are to be chargeable solely to the part of the estate set aside for use in the business or to the estate as a whole;

(4)  the period of time the business may be conducted; and

(5)  such other regulations, including accountings, as the court shall deem advisable.

20c3314v

 

Cross References.  Section 3314 is referred to in sections 5144, 5521 of this title.

20c3315s

§ 3315.  Incorporation of estate's business.

After notice to all parties in interest, aided by the report of a master if necessary, the court, unless restricted by the terms of the governing instrument, may authorize the personal representative alone or jointly with others, to organize a corporation to carry on the business of the estate, whether the business was owned solely or with others, and may contribute for stock of the corporation, as capital, all or part of the property of the estate which was invested in the business.

20c3315v

 

Cross References.  Section 3315 is referred to in sections 5144, 5521 of this title.

20c3316s

§ 3316.  Investment of funds.

Subject to his duty to liquidate the estate for prompt distribution and to the provisions of the will, if any, the personal representative may invest the funds of the estate but shall have no duty to do so. Any such investment, except as the court or the will may otherwise authorize or direct, shall be restricted to:

(1)  obligations of the United States or the United States Treasury, of the Commonwealth, or of any political subdivision of the Commonwealth;

(2)  an interest-bearing deposit in any bank, bank and trust company, savings bank or national banking association located within this Commonwealth if:

(i)  the maturity date or the permissible date of withdrawal does not exceed one year from the date of the deposit or any renewal thereof; and

(ii)  the deposits do not exceed the amount which is fully insured by the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation pursuant to the Federal Deposit Insurance Act (64 Stat. 873, 12 U.S.C. §§ 264 and 1811 et seq.);

(3)  savings accounts of any savings association incorporated under the laws of this Commonwealth, or of any Federal savings and loan association incorporated under the laws of the United States, if the withdrawal or repurchase value thereof is insured by the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation pursuant to the Federal Deposit Insurance Act; and

(4)  a money market mutual fund affiliated with a corporate personal representative.

The personal representative may also make temporary investments as authorized by section 7207 (relating to retention of cash; temporary investments) without regard to any investment restrictions imposed by the will.

20c3316v

(Dec. 16, 1992, P.L.1163, No.152, eff. imd.; June 25, 1999, P.L.212, No.28, eff. 6 months)

 

1999 Amendment.  See section 6(a) of Act 28 in the appendix to this title for special provisions relating to applicability.

1992 Amendment.  See section 27(b) of Act 152 in the appendix to this title for special provisions relating to applicability.

20c3316.1s

§ 3316.1.  Set-aside.

A personal representative may, without court approval, set aside property in a separate fund prior to actual distribution, after which income earned on the separate fund and appreciation or depreciation of the property set-aside shall belong to the separate fund.

20c3316.1v

(Oct. 12, 1999, P.L.422, No.39, eff. 60 days)

 

1999 Amendment.  Act 39 added section 3316.1. See section 13(8) of Act 39 in the appendix to this title for special provisions relating to applicability.

20c3317s

§ 3317.  Claims against co-fiduciary.

When one of two or more personal representatives shall be individually liable to the estate, the other or others shall take any legal action against him necessary to protect the estate.

20c3317v

 

Cross References.  Section 3317 is referred to in sections 5144, 5521 of this title.

20c3318s

§ 3318.  Revival of judgments against personal representative.

When the estate holds a judgment which is a lien on the real estate of the personal representative, any party in interest may suggest his interest in the judgment upon the record thereof and bring an appropriate action to revive it and to continue its lien. Any judgment so revived shall remain for the use of all parties in interest.

20c3318v

 

Cross References.  Section 3318 is referred to in sections 5144, 5521 of this title.

20c3319s

§ 3319.  Power of attorney; delegation of power over subscription rights and fractional shares; authorized delegations.

(a)  Power of attorney.--A personal representative may convey real estate, transfer title to personal estate, or perform any other act of administration by an attorney or agent under a power of attorney. Nothing in this subsection authorizes the delegation of any discretionary power.

(b)  Delegation of power over subscription rights and fractional shares.--Where there is more than one personal representative, one or more may delegate to another the power to decide whether rights to subscribe to stock should be sold or should be exercised, and also the power to decide whether a fractional share of stock should be sold or should be rounded out to a whole share through the purchase of an additional fraction, and also the power to carry out any such decision. Any delegation may extend to all subscription rights and fractional shares from time to time received by the personal representatives on account of stock held by them, or may be limited to any extent specified in the delegation. No exercise of any delegated power shall be valid, unless:

(1)  the stock on which the subscription rights or fractional shares are issued are listed or traded on the New York Stock Exchange or any other exchange approved by the Department of Banking; and

(2)  the shares held by the personal representatives on which the subscription rights or fractional shares are issued constitute less than 5% of the total outstanding shares of the same class of the same corporation.

(c)  Delegation authorized by governing instrument.--Nothing in this section precludes a delegation authorized by the governing instrument.

20c3319v

(Oct. 12, 1999, P.L.422, No.39, eff. 60 days)

 

1999 Amendment.  Act 39 amended subsec. (a). See section 13(8) of Act 39 in the appendix to this title for special provisions relating to applicability.

Cross References.  Section 3319 is referred to in sections 5144, 5521 of this title.

20c3320s

§ 3320.  Voting stock by proxy.

The personal representatives or a majority of them, either in person or by proxy, may vote stock owned by the estate.

20c3320v

 

Cross References.  Section 3320 is referred to in sections 5144, 5521 of this title.

20c3321s

§ 3321.  Nominee registration; corporate fiduciary as agent; deposit of securities in a clearing corporation; book-entry securities.

(a)  Corporate personal representative.--A bank and trust company or a trust company incorporated in the Commonwealth, or a national bank with trust powers having its principal office in the Commonwealth, may keep investments or fractional interests in investments held by it, either as sole personal representative or jointly with other personal representatives, in the name or names of the personal representatives or in the name of the nominee of the corporate personal representative: Provided, That the consent thereto of all the personal representatives is obtained: And provided further, That all such investments shall be so designated upon the records of the corporate personal representative that the estate to which they belong shall appear clearly at all times.

(b)  Individual personal representative.--A personal representative serving jointly with a bank and trust company or a trust company incorporated in the Commonwealth, or with a national bank having its principal office in the Commonwealth, may authorize or consent to the corporate personal representative having exclusive custody of the assets of the estate and to the holding of such investments in the name of a nominee of such corporate personal representative, to the same extent and subject to the same requirements that the corporate personal representative, if it were the sole personal representative, would be authorized to hold such investments in the name of its nominee.

(c)  Corporate fiduciary as agent.--An individual personal representative may employ a bank and trust company or a trust company incorporated in the Commonwealth, or a national bank with trust powers having its principal office in the Commonwealth, to act as his agent under a power of attorney in the performance of ministerial duties, including the safekeeping of estate assets, and such agent, when so acting, may be authorized to hold such investments in the name of its nominee to the same extent and subject to the same requirements that such agent, if it were the personal representative, would be authorized to hold such investments in the name of the nominee.

(d)  Deposit of securities in a clearing corporation.--A personal representative holding securities in its fiduciary capacity, any bank and trust company, trust company or National bank holding securities as an agent pursuant to subsection (c) of this section, is authorized to deposit or arrange for the deposit of such securities in a clearing corporation (as defined in Division 8 of Title 13 (relating to investment securities)). When such securities are so deposited, certificates representing securities of the same class of the same issuer may be merged and held in bulk in the name of the nominee of such clearing corporation with any other such securities deposited in such clearing corporation by any person regardless of the ownership of such securities, and certificates of small denomination may be merged into one or more certificates of larger denomination. The records of such fiduciary and the records of such bank and trust company, trust company or National bank acting as an agent under a power of attorney for a personal representative shall at all times show the name of the party for whose account the securities are so deposited. Title to such securities may be transferred by bookkeeping entry on the books of such clearing corporation without physical delivery of certificates representing such securities. A bank and trust company, trust company or National bank so depositing securities pursuant to this section shall be subject to such rules and regulations as, in the case of State chartered institutions, the Department of Banking and, in the case of National banking associations, the comptroller of the currency may from time to time issue including, without limitation, standards for, or the method of making a determination of, the financial responsibility of any clearing corporation in which securities are deposited. A bank and trust company, trust company or National bank acting as custodian for a personal representative shall, on demand by the personal representative, certify in writing to the personal representative the securities so deposited by such bank and trust company, trust company or National bank in such clearing corporation for the account of such personal representative. A personal representative shall, on demand by any party to a judicial proceeding for the settlement of such personal representative's account or on demand by the attorney for such party, certify in writing to such party the securities deposited by such personal representative in such clearing corporation for its account as such personal representative.

(e)  Accounting for book-entry securities.--With respect to securities which are available in book-entry form as an alternative to securities in definitive form, the receipt, holding or transfer of such securities in book-entry form by a bank and trust company, trust company or National bank acting as a sole or joint personal representative, or as an attorney-in-fact for a personal representative, is for all purposes equivalent to the receipt, holding or transfer of such securities in definitive form and no segregation of such book-entry securities shall be required other than by appropriate accounting records to identify the accounts for which such securities are held.

20c3321v

(Oct. 10, 1974, P.L.720, No.242, eff. imd.; Nov. 1, 1979, P.L.255, No.86, eff. Jan. 1, 1980; Dec. 16, 1992, P.L.1163, No.152, eff. imd.; Oct. 12, 1999, P.L.422, No.39, eff. 60 days)

 

1999 Amendment.  Act 39 amended the section heading and subsecs. (c) and (d). See section 13(8) of Act 39 in the appendix to this title for special provisions relating to applicability.

1992 Amendment.  Act 152 amended subsec. (e). Section 27(e) of Act 152 provided that the amendment shall apply beginning with the effective date of Act 152.

1974 Amendment.  Act 242 amended the section heading and added subsecs. (d) and (e). Section 4 of Act 242 provided that the amendment or addition of the section heading and subsecs. (d) and (e) shall apply without regard to the date of the instrument or court order under which a fiduciary is acting or may act.

Cross References.  Section 3321 is referred to in sections 5144, 5521, 5607, 7780, 7792 of this title.

20c3322s

§ 3322.  Acceptance of deed in lieu of foreclosure.

The personal representative may take for the estate from the owner of property encumbered by a mortgage owned by the estate, a deed in lieu of foreclosure, in which event the real estate shall be considered personalty to the same extent as though title were acquired by foreclosure at sheriff's sale. Any deed or deeds heretofore so accepted are hereby made valid in accordance with the provisions hereof.

20c3322v

 

Cross References.  Section 3322 is referred to in sections 5144, 5521 of this title.

20c3323s

§ 3323.  Compromise of controversies.

(a)  In general.--Whenever it shall be proposed to compromise or settle any claim, whether in suit or not, by or against an estate, or to compromise or settle any question or dispute concerning the validity or construction of any governing instrument, or the distribution of all or any part of any estate, or any other controversy affecting any estate, the court, on petition by the personal representative or by any party in interest setting forth all the facts and circumstances, and after such notice as the court shall direct, aided if necessary by the report of a master, may enter a decree authorizing the compromise or settlement to be made.

(b)  Pending court action.--

(1)  Court order.--Whenever it is desired to compromise or settle an action in which damages are sought to be recovered on behalf of an estate, any court or division thereof in which such action is pending and which has jurisdiction thereof may, upon oral motion by plaintiff's counsel of record in such action, or upon petition by the personal representative of such decedent, make an order approving such compromise or settlement. Such order may approve an agreement for the payment of counsel fees and other proper expenses incident to such action.

(2)  Order not subject to collateral attack.--The order of the court approving such compromise or settlement or an agreement for the payment of counsel fees and other expenses shall not be subject to collateral attack in the orphans' court division in the settlement of an estate.

(3)  Filing copy of order; additional security.--The personal representative shall file a copy of the order of the court approving such compromise or settlement in the office of the register of wills or clerk of the court having jurisdiction of the estate. When the personal representative has been required to give bond, he shall not receive the proceeds of any such compromise or settlement until the court of the county having jurisdiction of his estate has made an order excusing him from entering additional security or requiring additional security, and in the latter event, only after he has entered the additional security.

20c3323v

 

Cross References.  Section 3323 is referred to in sections 5144, 5521, 7792 of this title.

20c3324s

§ 3324.  Death or incapacity of fiduciary.

The personal representative of the estate of a deceased fiduciary or the guardian of an adjudged incapacitated fiduciary by reason of his position shall not succeed to the administration of, or have the right to possess, any asset of an estate which was being administered by the deceased or incapacitated fiduciary, except to protect it pending its delivery to the person entitled to it. The account of the deceased or incapacitated fiduciary may be filed by the fiduciary of his estate and it shall be filed if the court shall so direct. The court may direct the fiduciary of a deceased or incapacitated fiduciary to make the distribution and to make the transfers and assignments necessary to carry into effect a decree of distribution.

20c3324v

(Apr. 16, 1992, P.L.108, No.24, eff. 60 days)

 

1992 Amendment.  See section 21 of Act 24 in the appendix to this title for special provisions relating to applicability.

Cross References.  Section 3324 is referred to in sections 5144, 5521, 7792 of this title.

20c3325s

§ 3325.  Administrator C.T.A.

An administrator with the will annexed shall have all the powers given by the will to the executor, unless otherwise provided by the will. When he has been required to give bond, no proceeds of real estate shall be paid to him until the court has made an order excusing him from entering additional security or requiring additional security, and in the latter event, only after he has entered the additional security.

20c3326s

§ 3326.  Administrator D.B.N. and D.B.N.C.T.A.

An administrator de bonis non, with or without a will annexed, shall have the power to recover the assets of the estate from his predecessor in administration or from the personal representative of such predecessor and, except as the will shall provide otherwise, shall stand in his predecessor's stead for all purposes, except that he shall not be personally liable for the acts of his predecessor. When he has been required to give bond, no proceeds of real estate shall be paid to him until the court has made an order excusing him from entering additional security or requiring additional security, and in the latter event, only after he has entered the additional security.

20c3327s

§ 3327.  Surviving or remaining personal representatives.

Surviving or remaining personal representatives shall have all the powers of the original personal representatives, unless otherwise provided by the governing instrument.

20c3327v

 

Cross References.  Section 3327 is referred to in sections 5144, 5521 of this title.

20c3328s

§ 3328.  Disagreement of personal representatives.

(a)  Decision of majority.--If a dispute shall arise among personal representatives, the decision of the majority shall control unless otherwise provided by the governing instrument, if any. A dissenting personal representative shall join with the majority to carry out a majority decision requiring affirmative action and may be ordered to do so by the court. A dissenting personal representative shall not be liable for the consequences of any majority decision even though he joins in carrying it out, if his dissent is expressed promptly to all the other personal representatives: Provided, That liability for failure to join in administering the estate or to prevent a breach of trust may not be thus avoided.

(b)  When no majority.--When a dispute shall arise among personal representatives as to the exercise or nonexercise of any of their powers and there shall be no agreement of a majority of them, unless otherwise provided by the governing instrument, the court, upon petition filed by any of the personal representatives or by any party in interest, aided if necessary by the report of a master, in its discretion, may direct the exercise or nonexercise of the power as the court shall deem for the best interest of the estate.

20c3328v

 

Cross References.  Section 3328 is referred to in sections 5144, 5521 of this title.

20c3329s

§ 3329.  Effect of revocation of letters, probate of will, later will or codicil.

No act of administration performed by a personal representative in good faith shall be impeached by the subsequent revocation of his letters or by the subsequent probate of a will, of a later will or of a codicil: Provided, That regardless of the good or bad faith of the personal representative, no person who deals in good faith with a duly qualified personal representative shall be prejudiced by the subsequent occurrence of any of these contingencies.

20c3330s

§ 3330.  Notice of devise or bequest to corporation or association.

A personal representative to whom original letters are granted shall send a written notice, within three months after the grant of letters, to each corporation or association named as a beneficiary in the decedent's will, stating the date of the decedent's death, the county where the will has been probated, and that it is named as a beneficiary.

20c3331s

§ 3331.  Liability of personal representative on contracts.

Unless he expressly contracts otherwise, in writing, a personal representative shall not be personally liable on any written contract which is within his authority as personal representative and discloses that he is contracting as personal representative of a named estate. Any action on such a contract shall be brought against the personal representative in his fiduciary capacity only, or against his successor in such capacity, and execution upon any judgment obtained therein shall be had only against property of the estate.

20c3331v

 

Cross References.  Section 3331 is referred to in sections 5144, 5521 of this title.

20c3332s

§ 3332.  Inherent powers and duties.

Except as otherwise provided in this title, nothing in this title shall be construed to limit the inherent powers and duties of a personal representative.

20c3332v

 

Cross References.  Section 3332 is referred to in sections 5144, 5521, 7792 of this title.

20c3351h

 

 

SUBCHAPTER C

SALES, PLEDGES, MORTGAGES, LEASES,

OPTIONS AND EXCHANGES

 

Sec.

3351.  Power to sell.

3352.  Power to lease.

3353.  Order of court.

3354.  Power given in governing instrument.

3355.  Restraint of sale.

3356.  Purchase by personal representative.

3357.  Title of purchaser.

3358.  Collateral attack.

3359.  Record of proceedings; county where real estate lies.

3360.  Contracts, inadequacy of consideration or better offer; brokers' commissions.

20c3351s

§ 3351.  Power to sell.

Except as otherwise provided by the will, if any, the personal representative may sell, at public or private sale, any personal property whether specifically bequeathed or not, and any real property not specifically devised, and with the joinder of the specific devisee real property specifically devised. When the personal representative has been required to give a bond, no proceeds of real estate, including proceeds arising by reason of involuntary conversion, shall be paid to him until the court has made an order excusing him from entering additional security or requiring additional security, and in the latter event, only after he has entered the additional security.

20c3351v

(Dec. 10, 1974, P.L.867, No.293, eff. imd.)

 

1974 Amendment.  Section 20(b) of Act 293 provided that the amendment of section 3351 shall be retroactive to July 1, 1972.

20c3352s

§ 3352.  Power to lease.

Except as otherwise provided by the will, if any, the personal representative may lease any real or personal property which he is entitled to possess. The lease may be for a term expiring not more than one year after the decedent's death unless it is terminable by the personal representative at any later time on 30 days' notice, or unless a longer term is approved by the court.

20c3353s

§ 3353.  Order of court.

When the personal representative is not authorized to do so by this title or is denied the power to do so by the governing instrument, if any, or when it is advisable that a sale have the effect of a judicial sale, he may sell any real or personal property of the estate, including property specifically devised, at public or private sale, or may pledge, mortgage, lease, or exchange any such property, or grant an option for the sale, lease, or exchange of any such property, under order of the orphans' court division of the county where letters testamentary or of administration were granted, upon such terms and upon such security and after such notice as the court shall direct, whenever the court shall find such sale, pledge, mortgage, lease, exchange, or option to be desirable for the proper administration and distribution of the estate.

20c3353v

(Dec. 10, 1974, P.L.867, No.293, eff. imd.)

 

Cross References.  Section 3353 is referred to in sections 3357, 7792, 7794 of this title; section 8152 of Title 42 (Judiciary and Judicial Procedure).

20c3354s

§ 3354.  Power given in governing instrument.

A testamentary power given in the governing instrument to sell, unless expressly restricted, shall include the power to sell at public or private sale or to pledge or mortgage for any purpose of administration or distribution, but shall not include the right to grant an option without court order. A private sale may be made, with court approval, under the provisions of this title, although the governing instrument has directed a public sale. A power in the governing instrument to sell, pledge, mortgage, lease, or exchange, or to grant an option for a purchase, lease, or exchange of property not given to any person by name or description shall be deemed to have been given to the personal representative and may be exercised without court approval. When the personal representative has been required to give bond, no proceeds of real estate shall be paid to him until the court has made an order excusing him from entering additional security or requiring additional security, and in the latter event, only after he has entered the additional security.

20c3354v

 

Cross References.  Section 3354 is referred to in section 7792 of this title.

20c3355s

§ 3355.  Restraint of sale.

The court, on its own motion or upon application of any party in interest, in its discretion, may restrain a personal representative from making any sale under an authority not given by the governing instrument or from carrying out any contract of sale made by him under an authority not so given. The order may be conditioned upon the applicant giving bond for the protection of parties in interest who may be prejudiced thereby. The order shall be void as against a bona fide grantee of, or holder of a lien on, real estate unless the decree restraining the sale, or a duplicate original or certified copy thereof, is recorded in the deed book in the office of the recorder of deeds in the county in which such real estate lies, before the recording or entering of the instrument or lien under which such grantee or lienholder claims.

20c3355v

 

Cross References.  Section 3355 is referred to in sections 5153, 5521, 7792 of this title.

20c3356s

§ 3356.  Purchase by personal representative.

In addition to any right conferred by a governing instrument, if any, the personal representative, in his individual capacity, may bid for, purchase, take a mortgage on, lease, or take by exchange, real or personal property belonging to the estate, subject, however, to the approval of the court, and under such terms and conditions and after such reasonable notice to parties in interest as it shall direct. The court may make an order directing a co-fiduciary, if any, or the court's clerk to execute a deed or other appropriate instrument to the purchasing personal representative.

20c3356v

(Dec. 10, 1974, P.L.867, No.293, eff. imd.)

 

Cross References.  Section 3356 is referred to in sections 5153, 5521, 7792 of this title.

20c3357s

§ 3357.  Title of purchaser.

(a)  General rule.--If the personal representative has given such bond, if any, as shall be required in accordance with this title, any sale, mortgage, or exchange by him, whether pursuant to a decree or to the exercise of a testamentary power or of a power under this title, shall pass the full title of the decedent therein, unless otherwise specified, discharged from the lien of legacies, from liability for all debts and obligations of the decedent, from all liabilities incident to the administration of the decedent's estate, and from all claims of distributees and of persons claiming in their right, except that no such sale, mortgage or exchange by a personal representative, unless made under section 3353 (relating to order of court) for the purpose of divesting a lien existing at the decedent's death, shall divest the interest of a bona fide grantee of, or a holder of a lien on, real property of the decedent who has acquired such interest for value under a prior recorded document from or through those entitled to the interest of the decedent in the real property by will or by intestacy, either:

(1)  more than one year after the death of the decedent and when no letters issued in the Commonwealth upon the decedent's estate were in effect; or

(2)  within such year if no letters upon the decedent's estate have been issued in the Commonwealth during that year.

(b)  Effect of certain circumstances.--Persons dealing with the personal representative shall have no obligation to see to the proper application of the cash or other assets given in exchange for the property of the estate. Any sale or exchange by a personal representative pursuant to a decree under section 3353 shall have the effect of a judicial sale, but the court may decree a sale or exchange freed and discharged from the lien of any mortgage otherwise preserved from discharge by existing law, if the holder of such mortgage shall consent by writing filed in the proceeding. No such sale, mortgage, exchange, or conveyance shall be prejudiced by the terms of any will or codicil thereafter probated or by the subsequent revocation of the letters of the personal representative who made the sale, mortgage, exchange, or conveyance if the person dealing with the personal representative did so in good faith.

20c3357v

(July 9, 1976, P.L.551, No.135, eff. imd.)

 

Cross References.  Section 3357 is referred to in section 8152 of Title 42 (Judiciary and Judicial Procedure).

20c3358s

§ 3358.  Collateral attack.

No decree entered pursuant to this title shall be subject to collateral attack on account of any irregularity if the court which entered it had jurisdiction to do so.

20c3358v

 

Cross References.  Section 3358 is referred to in sections 5153, 7792 of this title.

20c3359s

§ 3359.  Record of proceedings; county where real estate lies.

Certified copies of proceedings of any court of the Commonwealth relating to or affecting real estate may be recorded in the office for the recording of deeds in any county in which the real estate lies.

20c3359v

 

Cross References.  Section 3359 is referred to in sections 5153, 5521, 7792 of this title.

20c3360s

§ 3360.  Contracts, inadequacy of consideration or better offer; brokers' commissions.

(a)  Inadequacy of consideration or better offer.--When a personal representative shall make a contract not requiring approval of court, or when the court shall approve a contract of a personal representative requiring approval of the court, neither inadequacy of consideration, nor the receipt of an offer to deal on other terms shall, except as otherwise agreed by the parties, relieve the personal representative of the obligation to perform his contract or shall constitute ground for any court to set aside the contract, or to refuse to enforce it by specific performance or otherwise: Provided, That this subsection shall not affect or change the inherent right of the court to set aside a contract for fraud, accident or mistake. Nothing in this subsection shall affect the liability of a personal representative for surcharge on the ground of negligence or bad faith in making a contract.

(b)  Brokers' commissions.--When a personal representative shall enter into an agreement of sale of real estate in good faith, which is not binding under subsection (a) of this section and which is set aside upon receipt of a higher offer for such real estate, he shall not be relieved from the payment of real estate broker or broker's commissions to the broker who had procured such agreement of sale, and in the event that more than one real estate broker is entitled to commissions for said agreements of sale, then such commissions shall be equally divided between or among such real estate brokers: Provided further, That the total aggregate commission paid as a percentage of the gross consideration of the final sale shall in no event exceed a fair commission for a single sale of the property involved.

20c3360v

(Dec. 10, 1974, P.L.867, No.293, eff. imd.)

 

1974 Amendment.  Act 293 amended subsec. (b).

Cross References.  Section 3360 is referred to in sections 5153, 5521 of this title.

20c3371h

 

 

SUBCHAPTER D

ABATEMENT, SURVIVAL AND CONTROL OF ACTIONS

 

Sec.

3371.  Actions which survive.

3372.  Substitution of personal representative in pending action or proceedings.

3373.  Action by or against personal representative.

3374.  Death or removal of fiduciary.

3375.  Abatement of action for failure to take out letters.

3376.  Limitations against debt due estate.

3377.  Execution on judgments.

20c3371s

§ 3371.  Actions which survive.

All causes of action or proceedings shall survive as provided by 42 Pa.C.S. § 8302 (relating to survival action).

20c3371v

(Apr. 28, 1978, P.L.202, No.53, eff. 60 days).

20c3372s

§ 3372.  Substitution of personal representative in pending action or proceedings.

Substitution of the personal representative of a deceased party to a pending action or proceeding shall be as provided by law.

20c3372v

 

Cross References.  Section 3372 is referred to in section 5521 of this title.

20c3373s

§ 3373.  Action by or against personal representative.

An action or proceeding to enforce any right or liability which survives a decedent may be brought by or against his personal representative alone or with other parties as though the decedent were alive.

20c3374s

§ 3374.  Death or removal of fiduciary.

An action or proceeding to which a fiduciary is a party is not abated by his death or resignation or by the termination of his authority. The successor of the fiduciary may be substituted in the action or proceeding in the manner provided by law.

20c3374v

 

Cross References.  Section 3374 is referred to in section 5521 of this title.

20c3375s

§ 3375.  Abatement of action for failure to take out letters.

If a plaintiff or petitioner in any action or proceeding now pending or hereafter brought dies and a personal representative is not appointed within one year after a suggestion of such death is filed in the action or proceeding, any defendant or respondent may petition the court to abate the action as to the cause of action of the decedent. Copies of the petition shall be served upon the executor named in the will, if known to the defendant, and otherwise upon all known next of kin entitled to letters of administration. The court shall abate the action as to the cause of action of the decedent if the delay in taking out letters is not reasonably explained.

20c3376s

§ 3376.  Limitations against debt due estate.

Any statute of limitation which would bar any debt or liability owed the estate of a decedent within one year after the decedent's death shall be extended until the end of one year following the decedent's death. Failure or delay in taking out letters testamentary or of administration shall not affect the operation of any statute of limitations applicable to a debt or liability owed the estate of a decedent.

20c3376v

(July 9, 1976, P.L.551, No.135, eff. imd.)

20c3377s

§ 3377.  Execution on judgments.

(a)  When prohibited.--No execution shall issue against, nor shall any levy be made upon, any real or personal property of the estate of a decedent by virtue of a judgment against him or his personal representative unless:

(1)  agreed to by the personal representative in a writing filed in the action or proceeding; or

(2)  approved by the orphans' court division of the county in which letters testamentary or of administration have been granted, or if none have been granted, then by the orphans' court division of the county in which the principal or family residence of the decedent was located. The court may require the giving of notice to the personal representative and to parties in interest or may waive all notice.

(b)  When allowed.--The restrictions of subsection (a) of this section shall not apply to actions or proceedings to enforce mortgages, ground rents, pledges, or conditional sales of real or personal property.

20c3377v

 

Saved from Suspension.  Pennsylvania Rule of Civil Procedure for Justices of the Peace No.482, as amended April 25, 1979, provided that section 3377 shall not be deemed suspended or affected. Rules 401 through 482 relate to execution of judgments for the payment of money rendered by justices of the peace. Act 207 of 2004 changed justices of the peace to magisterial district judges. Rule 482 can now be found in Rules of Conduct, Office Standards and Civil Procedure for Magisterial District Judges.

Pennsylvania Rule of Civil Procedure No. 3159(b)(1), adopted April 20, 1998, provided that section 5107 shall not be deemed suspended or affected by Rules 3101 through 3149 relating to enforcement of money judgments for the payment of money.

20c3381h

 

 

SUBCHAPTER E

CLAIMS; CHARGES; RIGHTS OF CREDITORS

 

Sec.

3381.  Liens and charges existing at death not impaired.

3382.  Judgments which are liens at death.

3383.  Statutes of limitations; claims not barred at death.

3384.  Notice of claim.

3384.1. Notice after settlor of revocable trust has died.

3385.  Limitation upon claims.

3386.  Failure to present claim at audit.

3387.  Claims not due; certain to become due.

3388.  Claims not certain to become due.

3389.  Claims subject to litigation in other courts.

3390.  Specific performance of contracts.

3391.  Proceeding against personal representative.

3392.  Classification and order of payment.

3393.  Notice to Commonwealth and political subdivisions.

20c3381s

§ 3381.  Liens and charges existing at death not impaired.

Nothing in this title shall be construed as impairing any lien or charge on real or personal estate of the decedent which existed at his death.

20c3381v

 

Cross References.  Section 3381 is referred to in section 3385 of this title.

20c3382s

§ 3382.  Judgments which are liens at death.

Any judgment which at the decedent's death was a lien on real estate then owned by him or on real estate which he had conveyed by deed not recorded during his life shall continue to bind the real estate for five years from the inception or last revival of the lien or for one year from the decedent's death, whichever shall be longer, although the judgment be not revived after his death. During this period, the judgment shall rank according to its priority at the time of death, and after this period, it shall not continue to be a lien on the real estate, unless revived. Any judgment against the decedent which is a lien on real estate aliened by him may be revived by an action of scire facias brought against the decedent, but before any judgment shall be entered thereon, the personal representative shall be made a party defendant and served with process in the action.

20c3382v

 

Cross References.  Section 3382 is referred to in section 3385 of this title.

20c3383s

§ 3383.  Statutes of limitations; claims not barred at death.

The death of a person shall not stop the running of the statute of limitations applicable to any claim against him, but a claim which otherwise would be barred within one year after the death of the decedent shall not be barred until the expiration of one year after his death. Nothing in this section shall be construed to shorten the period which would have been allowed by any applicable statute of limitations if the decedent had continued to live.

20c3384s

§ 3384.  Notice of claim.

(a)  Written notice.--Written notice of any claim against a decedent given to the personal representative or his attorney of record before the claim is barred shall toll the statute of limitations.

(b)  Acts equivalent to written notice.--Any of the following acts by a claimant shall be equivalent to the giving of written notice of a claim to the personal representative:

(1)  Instituting proceedings to compel the filing of an account.

(2)  Bringing an action against the personal representative in any court having jurisdiction of the claim and having the writ or pleading duly served on the personal representative.

(3)  Substituting the personal representative as a defendant in an action pending against the decedent.

(4)  Receiving a written acknowledgment by the personal representative or his attorney of record of the existence of the claim.

20c3384v

 

Cross References.  Section 3384 is referred to in section 7755 of this title.

20c3384.1s

§ 3384.1.  Notice after settlor of revocable trust has died.

No later than 30 days after the date on which the trustee of a revocable trust learns that a personal representative has been appointed for the deceased settlor's estate, the trustee shall send to the settlor's personal representative the notice described in section 7780.3(i) (relating to duty to inform and report).

20c3384.1v

(July 7, 2006, P.L.625, No.98, eff. 120 days)

 

2006 Amendment.  Act 98 added section 3384.1.

20c3385s

§ 3385.  Limitation upon claims.

All claims against the decedent, subject only to the provisions of section 3381 (relating to liens and charges existing at death not impaired) and section 3382 (relating to judgments which are liens at death), shall become unenforceable after one year from the decedent's death against a bona fide grantee of, or holder of a lien on, real property of the decedent who has acquired his interest for value from or through those entitled to the property by will or by intestacy, either:

(1)  more than one year after the death of the decedent and when no letters issued in the Commonwealth upon the decedent's estate were in effect; or

(2)  within such year if no letters upon the decedent's estate have been issued in the Commonwealth during that year.

Nothing in this section shall be construed to limit the right of a personal representative subsequently appointed to recover from the heir or devisee the value of property so sold or encumbered.

20c3386s

§ 3386.  Failure to present claim at audit.

If any claimant whose claim is not reported to the court by the personal representative as an admitted claim shall fail to present it at the call for audit or confirmation, he shall not be entitled to receive any share of the real and personal estate distributed pursuant to such audit or confirmation, whether the estate of the decedent be solvent or insolvent.

20c3387s

§ 3387.  Claims not due; certain to become due.

Upon satisfactory proof or admission of a claim which is not due but certain to become due, the court may provide for payment by one of the following methods:

(1)  Awarding the present value of the claim, as agreed to by the claimant and the personal representative.

(2)  Ordering the personal representative to retain or pay into the court sufficient assets to pay on maturity of the claim the whole amount then due, or a proportionate amount in case of insolvency.

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Cross References.  Section 3387 is referred to in section 7755 of this title.

20c3388s

§ 3388.  Claims not certain to become due.

Upon satisfactory proof or admission of a claim which may or may not become due at a future time, the court may provide for payment by one of the following methods:

(1)  Awarding the present value of the claim, as agreed to by the claimant and the personal representative.

(2)  Ordering the personal representative to distribute the estate but to retain or pay into court sufficient assets to pay the claim, or a proportionate amount in case of insolvency, if and when it becomes absolute.

(3)  Making such other provisions for the disposition or satisfaction of the claim as shall be equitable.

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Cross References.  Section 3388 is referred to in section 7755 of this title.

20c3389s

§ 3389.  Claims subject to litigation in other courts.

When any claim not proved in the orphans' court division is being litigated in any other division or court, State or Federal, having jurisdiction thereof, the court may make such provision for the disposition or satisfaction of the claim as shall be equitable.

20c3390s

§ 3390.  Specific performance of contracts.

(a)  Application to court.--If any person makes a legally binding agreement to purchase or sell real or personal estate and dies before its consummation, his personal representative shall have power to consummate it, but if he does not do so, the court, on the application of any party in interest and after such notice and with such security, if any, as it may direct, in its discretion, may order specific performance of the agreement if it would have been enforced specifically had the decedent not died.

(b)  Execution and effect of deed or transfer.--Any necessary deed or transfer shall be executed by the personal representative or by such other person as the court shall direct. The title of any purchaser under an agreement in which the decedent was the vendor shall be the same as though the decedent had conveyed or transferred such property in his lifetime.

(c)  Indexing in judgment or ejectment and miscellaneous indexes.--When any petition for specific performance of an agreement to purchase or sell real estate is filed, the prothonotary of the court of common pleas where the real estate or any part of it lies, upon the receipt of a certificate of such fact by the clerk of the court where the petition was filed, shall enter the petition upon either the judgment or ejectment and miscellaneous indexes against the defendants as directed by local rules of court and shall certify it as lis pendens in any certificate of search which he is required to make by virtue of his office.

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Cross References.  Section 3390 is referred to in section 5521 of this title.

20c3391s

§ 3391.  Proceeding against personal representative.

Any proceeding may be brought against a personal representative or the surety on his bond in the county where his letters have been granted, and if the personal representative or surety does not reside in that county, process may be served on either of them personally, or as follows:

(1)  When resident of another county.--By a duly deputized sheriff of any other county of the Commonwealth in which he shall be found.

(2)  When a nonresident of the Commonwealth.--By the sheriff of the county where letters have been granted sending, by registered mail, return receipt requested, a true and attested copy of the process to the Department of State, accompanied by the fee prescribed by law, and to the personal representative or surety at his last known address, with an endorsement thereon showing that service has been so made upon the Department of State.

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§ 3392.  Classification and order of payment.

If the applicable assets of the estate are insufficient to pay all proper charges and claims in full, the personal representative, subject to any preference given by law to claims due the United States, shall pay them in the following order, without priority as between claims of the same class:

(1)  The costs of administration.