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In re Estate of Walter
Superior Court of Pennsylvania
June 22, 2018
IN RE: ESTATE OF CARRYL L. WALTER, DECEASED APPEAL OF: LYNN M. WALTER
from the Order Entered April 27, 2017 In the Court of Common
Pleas of Cumberland County Orphans' Court at No(s):
BEFORE: PANELLA, J., OLSON, J., and STEVENS [*] , P.J.E. OPINION BY
Lynn M. Walter, former Executrix for the estate of Carryl
Walter ("Decedent"), appeals from the order entered
by the Court of Common Pleas of Cumberland County sustaining
objections to her accounting upon a finding of improper
distributions and misappropriation of funds. We affirm.
Orphans' Court sets forth the relevant procedural history
and facts as follows:
A Decree of Probate and a Grant of Letters Testamentary were
entered on May 19, 2011, in the Cumberland County Office of
Register of Wills and Clerk of the Orphans' Court for
[Decedent's] Will executed on November 12, 2010. [Three
years later, after learning of the Estate, the Commonwealth,
acting as parens patriae because the will named
charities as beneficiaries, filed a petition to void gifts
allegedly made pursuant to the Will.] A Citation was issued
on May 6, 2014, based on [the Commonwealth's petition].
The Citation was amended on March 3, 2015, to extend the
issuance to the Estate's attorney and the Executrix of
the Estate, [Appellant], which further alleged
misappropriation of funds.
In June 2015, a material conflict was found to exist, and the
Appellant was removed, followed by the Grant of Letters of
Administration [to Appellee] d/b/n/c/t/a in July 2015.
Objections to the Executrix's account were filed in
September 2016, and discovery was extended through the
calendar year 2016. Thereafter, a hearing was held on the
Objections on March 30, 2017, and a decision entered on April
27, 2017. An appeal was filed on April 30, 2017, to Superior
Court. . . .
The [Orphans' Court's decision] sustained seven (7)
Objections to the former Executrix's Accounting as
improperly distributed with specific notation that no finding
was made as to proper distribution, malpractice on part of
the former Estate's attorney, error of the bank, or
set-offs for any successful claim by former Executrix to the
IOLTA fund. . . .
This case arises out of the embezzlement of Estate funds and
conversion of its assets by the now-former Estate attorney
(Attorney), while under the fiduciary eyes of the now-former
Executrix [Appellant]. Carryl Walter (Decedent) died testate
on May 11, 2011; Decedent left major assets of cash in
Members 1stCredit Union (MFFCU), a gold and silver
coin collection in a safe deposit box, and a mobile home. The
salient facts from the proceeding are:
1) Executrix is the ex-daughter-in-law of Decedent and, among
other accounting positions, a former payroll supervisor with
the Harrisburg School District.
2) Attorney was Karl Rominger, Esq.
3) Decedent had various accounts with MFFCU, specifically a
money market account, checking account, savings account, and
certificates of deposit accounts.
4) Executrix was orally advised on May 25, 2011, by a
representative of MFFCU that the checking, savings, and money
market accounts were "benefacted" to her, and
together they transferred the balances of those accounts into
an individual account opened in the Executrix's
5) In the Will, specific bequests were given to Executrix,
$50, 000.00; to Executrix's daughter (Decedent's
granddaughter), $20, 000; to Executrix's son
(Decedent's grandson), $20, 000.00; inter alia,
with a specific gift of the coin collection to the National
Military Family Association.
6) The coin collection was removed from a safe deposit box
and sold to a dealer in New Cumberland, PA., who had been
found by Executrix, and together Executrix and Attorney took
the coins to that dealer, who gave Executrix a check for $92,
7) Executrix set up a separate Estate bank account for the
coin proceeds to send to the charity per good accounting
practice, but instead the funds were transferred to
Attorney's IOLTA account allegedly at the charity's
request, and Attorney subsequently embezzled those funds from
the IOLTA account.
8) Executrix was told by Attorney [that] the charity [had
sent an] email request[ing] cash in lieu of coin
delivery[, ] but [she] never saw any documentation [to that
9) Decedent had a mobile home that Executrix tried to sell on
her own - estimated value of $49, 900.00.
10) The best offer for the mobile home was $35, 000.00;
however, no sale occurred due to potential buyer's
11) The mobile home was "sold" via title
transfer to Executrix's daughter in lieu of her
receipt of a $20, 000.00 specific bequest.
12) The only beneficiary designation form signed by Decedent,
on or about December 29, 2009, as shown in MFFCU
computer's system for all accounts was for a certificate
of deposit, denominated as Share 41, which at Decedent's
death had matured on September 25, 2010, and that account
left empty [sic].
13) At one point in time, Share 41 had a $50, 000.00 balance
with Executrix individually ...
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