Substituted Judgment to Change Incapacitated Person’s Will

The Orphans’ Court had the power to change the will of an incapacitated person and substitute its judgment for that of the incapacitated person even though changes to an incapacitated person’s will are not among the specific powers listed in 20 Pa.C.S. § 5536(b), and the decision of the Orphans’ Court to disinherit stepchildren after their father had disinherited the incapacitated person and her children was supported by a preponderance of the evidence.   In re: Petition of Sandra Navarra by the Limited Guardian of Her Estate, 2018 PA Super 84 (4/11/2018), aff’ng 7 Fid.Rep.3d 39 (O.C. Lawrence Co. 2016).

The Superior Court also held that the death of one of the stepchildren during the proceeding deprived the Orphans’ Court of jurisdiction over the dispute with that stepchild, and so vacated the judgment of the court as to that stepchild.  See “Death of a Litigant in the Orphans’ Court” for a more detailed analysis of that part of the decision.

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