I performed pro bono online research for the Dauphin County Court Administrator's Office regarding a pilot program initiated by the Orphans' Court Division, of the Court of Common Pleas of Dauphin County, PA, in monitoring guardianships. I sought reliable resources, available publicly online, regarding both "guardianship" proceedings and "incapacitated persons" under Pennsylvania law.
I share these online references as a basic source of laws, rules, and forms on these topics.
Each judicial district in Pennsylvania can provide for additional local rules under PA Supreme Court Orphans' Court Rule 14 regarding "Incompetents' Estates"; and many have done so.
- PA Probate, Estates & Fiduciaries Code, Chapter 55 (Official posting of Consolidated Statutes) -- See: Chapter 55 "Incapacitated Persons"; see also: Chapter 55 posted by the PA Department of Aging.
- Pennsylvania Supreme Court Orphans' Court Rules -- Generally (Rules 1-17 Index) & specifically re Guardianship (Rule 14 re "Incompentents' Estates")
- Pennsylvania Department of Aging -- "Guardianship in Pennsylvania" (PDF, 10 pages; Revised Mar 2007)
- Pennsylvania Disabilities Rights Network -- "Guardianship in Pennsylvania" (PDF, 15 pages; Revised March 2010) -- An excellent, updated summary with complete statutory & case law citations (highly recommended)
- Pennsylvania Legal Ethics & Applicable Rules of Professional Conduct re "Client under a Disability", posted by Cornell Law School in its "American Legal Ethics Library"
- Guardian's Annual Report form (fill-in PDF) posted by the Administrative Office of Pennsylvania Courts (Oct, 2006 Revision)
- Philadelphia Estate Practitioners' Handbook -- "Red Book", Chapter 6 on "Proceedings Involving Incapacitated Persons" in the Philadelphia O.C. Division
Thus, local rules regarding guardianship proceedings and incapacitated persons must always be checked regarding issues of required consent, service (notice), hearing & testimony, inventory, or related matters.
Yet a declaration of partial or full incapacity of an individual, and the appointment of a guardian -- either for the "person" or for the "estate", or possibly for both -- are only the beginning. Then comes the ongoing personal decision-making or the administration of funds, while the court always retains jurisdiction for review, if necessary.
I updated the links, many of which had changed since the original posting. For developments or discussions regarding guardianship, see: PA EE&F Law Blog topic "Guardianship".