Orphans’ Court Order Directing Executor Not to Sell Real Estate Quashed as Interlocutory

An order directing the executor of an estate not to sell real estate assets is interlocutory and not appealable, the Superior Court held in Estate of Cherry, __ A.3d __ (No. 633 MDA 2014, filed March 17, 2015). The First Baptist Church of Huntingdon, Pennsylvania, which stood to receive the residue of the testator’s will in this case, offered to contribute funds to the estate to ensure specific bequests could be satisfied. The executor rejected the Church’s offer, prompting the Church to file a petition seeking to enjoin the executor from selling all real and personal property owned by the estate. The orphans’ court denied the injunction and the Church appealed.

The Superior Court, in a unanimous opinion authored by Judge Wecht, quashed the appeal as interlocutory. The Court analyzed Rule of Appellate Procedure 342 (“Appealable Orphans’ Court Orders”), which formerly vested the orphans’ court with discretion to decide whether an order was appealable. As a result of amendments in 2012, Rule 342 now identifies certain orders that are always appealable as of right, including “

[a]n order determining an interest in real or personal property.” Pa. R.A.P. 342(a)(6). Applying Superior Court cases decided before and after the amendment, the Court concluded that subsection (a)(6) was not applicable because the orphans’ court’s order did not resolve a dispute about who had or has an interest in the real property owned by the estate. The Court also held that the order was not an appealable collateral order under Pa. R.A.P. 313 because the property at issue is central to the main cause of action, i.e., the final accounting and distribution of the estate.
By | 2017-05-19T22:51:29+00:00 April 21st, 2015|Categories: Estate Planning and Administration|Tags: , , , , , |Comments Off on Orphans’ Court Order Directing Executor Not to Sell Real Estate Quashed as Interlocutory

About the Author:

PBI
The Pennsylvania Bar Institute is PA's premier provider of continuing legal education and reference materials. Our mission is to provide Pennsylvania lawyers with information that is timely, practical, cost effective, and of the highest possible quality. We are the nonprofit arm of the Pennsylvania Bar Association.