filed: October 16, 1987.
IN THE MATTER OF THE ESTATE OF CHARLES MEININGER, DECEASED. APPEAL OF VIRGINIA E. EDWARDS, EXCEPTANT
Appeal from the Judgment of the Court of Common Pleas of Erie County, Orphans Court Division at No. 553 of 1983.
John A. Spaeder, Erie, for appellant.
Robert J. Kelleher, Erie, for appellee.
Cirillo, President Judge, and Montemuro and Tamilia, JJ.
[ 367 Pa. Super. Page 106]
Appellant has lodged this appeal following the dismissal of her exceptions to the final account of appellee Eller, executor of the estate of Charles Meininger, Deceased.*fn1
In 1973, Charles Meininger and his brother Richard executed reciprocal wills each leaving his property to the other and naming as residuary beneficiaries their six nephews and nieces, of whom appellant is one, as is the wife of appellee Eller. At Richard's death in 1976, decedent renounced his position as designated executor of his brother's will in favor of appellee. Shortly thereafter decedent requested his attorney to draft a new will, and to place appellee's name as joint tenant on all his existing accounts, stock certificates and the like, in effect naming appellee as his sole beneficiary through the survivorship mechanism.
Charles Meininger died in April, 1982, and an account of the estate was filed in September 1983 by appellee as executor. Appellant objected to the account claiming that appellee had abused his confidential relationship with decedent
[ 367 Pa. Super. Page 107]
in order to enrich himself. On September 11, 1986, the objections were dismissed without more. Appellant then filed a motion to grant exceptions to the dismissal order. After hearing on October 9, 1986, the court orally denied the motion and this appeal followed.
We note at the outset that a question of appealability arises which we may address sua sponte. Wertz v. Anderson, 352 Pa. Super. 572, 508 A.2d 1218 (1986).
Before this Court can address the merits of an appeal our jurisdiction to decide those claims must be established. In order to avoid piecemeal litigation, no appeal will be permitted from an interlocutory order unless specifically provided for by statute. See : Pa.R.App.P. 311, Caplan v. Keystone Weaving Mills, 431 Pa. 407, 246 A.2d 384 (1968). Otherwise, an appeal must be taken from a final order. Pa.a R.App.P. 702(a); Sechler v. Ensign-Bickford Co., 322 Pa. Super. 162, 469 A.2d 233 (1983).
Elderkin v. Sedney, 354 Pa. Super. 253, 255, 511 A.2d 858, 859 (1986).
Supreme Court Orphans Court Rule 6.11*fn2 requires that before confirmation of an account may occur, and before a statement of proposed distribution may be approved, an adjudication or a decree of distribution must be filed by the court or the clerk of the court in accordance with local rules. Confirmation thus confers finality,*fn3 since it is, from the vantage point of the beneficiaries and heirs, conclusive as to any division of property then before the orphans' court. From the personal representative's perspective,
[ 367 Pa. Super. Page 108]
confirmation "serves to discharge him from liability as to any property he distributes in accordance with the court's decree." 33 Standard Pa.Practice 2d § 158.141 (1987).
However, the September 11 order from which appellant has brought this appeal merely dismissed her objections. It is neither an adjudication or a decree of distribution, and as such is an improper antecedent to confirmation of an account. Absent confirmation, and its imprimatur of finality, an appeal is premature and therefore interlocutory. 33 Standard Pa.Practice 2d § 158.190 (1987).
Accordingly,*fn4 this appeal must be dismissed. Levy's Estate, 307 Pa. 522, 161 A. 740 (1932); Brusstar's Estate, 123 Pa. Super. 45, 186 A. 147 (1936).