Discovery • Objections to an Accounting • Orphans’ Court Rules

In re Estate of Robinson, PICS Case No. 14-0259 (C.P. Monroe Jan. 6, 2014) Williamson, J. (3 pages).

The executor of an estate petitioned to compel discovery against a fiduciary acting on behalf of the decedent and his late wife. The fiduciary argued that discovery was not appropriate at this time because no objections had been filed to the accounting and thus, there was no pending matter before the court. Petition granted.

The executor initially filed a petition for accounting and to distribute real property alleged to be part of the probate estate. Therefore, he raised issues beyond filing an accounting. The discovery sought was similar to pre-litigation discovery in the civil division. In Monroe County there is no local Orphans’ Court rule specific to discovery. Since it is common practice to allow pre-complaint discovery in certain situations in civil court, the same rule applies in Orphans’ Court. The executor believed that discovery prior to filing objections to the accounting would help clarify and narrow the scope of the matters objected to by him. As such, it was similar to pre-complaint discovery and was allowed.

Since the accounting was filed more than one year ago, the fiduciary had to answer the executor’s first set of interrogatories and request for documents within 30 days and the objections to the accounting had to be be filed within 90 days.