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Emma M. Kline, associate with Fox Rothschild. Emma M. Kline, associate with Fox Rothschild.

Even for seasoned Orphans’ Court practitioners, the Dead Man’s Act is a difficult statute to navigate. The statute becomes even murkier when discussing it in conjunction with joint accounts, and the ability of surviving account holders to testify about both their interactions with a decedent and the intent behind the account. Fortunately, a handful of Pennsylvania cases carve out this ability to testify for surviving joint account holders, using both the traditional analysis of who represents a decedent’s interests on death and invoking the devisavit vel non exception to the Dead Man’s Act.

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