No. 62 March Term 1979, Appeal from the Decree of the Court of Common Pleas, Orphans' Court Division, Lawrence County, at No. 49 of 1978
Perry L. Reeher, New Castle, for appellant.
Kenneth E. Fox, Ellwood City, for Laddie J. Ladd.
David H. Acker, New Castle, for appellee.
Eagen, C. J., and O'Brien, Roberts, Nix, Larsen, Flaherty, and Kauffman, JJ. Larsen, J., dissents and would affirm the decree of the Court of Common Pleas.
Michalina Marushak, a resident of Lawrence County, died intestate on July 20, 1972. Letters testamentary were issued
to a nephew and, on June 29, 1973, the Court of Common Pleas of Lawrence County, Orphans' Court Division, conducted an audit of the account and entered a decree of distribution awarding the estate to this nephew as sole heir.
On April 25, 1978, a petition was filed with the court by two residents of Poland, a sister and niece of the decedent, through an "attorney-in-fact" requesting a citation to show cause why the decree of distribution should not be reviewed and the nephew directed to return the assets of the estate to the court for a true and legal distribution of the estate. Preliminary objections to the petition were filed maintaining the petitioners were guilty of laches. The court sustained this position and dismissed the petition. This appeal followed.
In pertinent part, the Probate, Estate and Fiduciaries Code, 20 Pa.C.S.A. § 3521 (1975), provides:
"If any party in interest shall, within five years after the final confirmation of any account of a personal representative, file a petition to review any part of the account or of an auditor's report, or of the adjudication, or of any decree of distribution, setting forth specifically alleged errors therein, the court shall give such relief as equity and justice shall require: Provided, That no such review shall impose liability on the personal representative as to ...