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2018 News

Bucks County Register of Wills and Clerk of the Orphans’ Court Announces New Protections for Vulnerable Citizens

June 29, 2018

For Immediate Release From the Register of Wills
Contact: Don Petrille, 215-348-6265

BUCKS COUNTY, PA –Bucks County Clerk of the Orphans’ Court Register of Wills, Don Petrille, today unveiled new forms on the buckscounty.org website for guardians to use when accounting for their care of incapacitated persons.  The new forms are part of a statewide effort, in which Mr. Petrille participated, to ensure further protections for vulnerable Pennsylvanians.

“Working in tandem with the Registers of Wills and Clerks of the Orphans’ Court Association and the Supreme Court, our office helped identify the need to ensure annual reports were not only filed, but reviewed.  During that process, we agreed with the Supreme Court’s 2014 findings that the reporting was often inadequate, and accountability was spotty throughout Pennsylvania.”

Petrille allayed concerns that the forms may be burdensome for guardians who are simply taking care of loved ones.  “These forms may protect the guardian, as well as the incapacitated person.  When the forms are filled out and submitted for review by Orphans’ Court staff, the public record may stop others from second-guessing the guardian’s actions many years later.”

Among the changes in the new forms, are requirements that the sources of income be more clearly stated, the types of expenses be categorized better, and the incapacitated person’s caregivers be specifically identified.

Starting in December, this data will be available to judges and court clerks to help monitor performance of guardians through a new Guardianship Tracking System.  “We have been very supportive of efforts to protect the assets of our most vulnerable citizens.  We believe the new forms, and the coming guardianship database will be great tools in that effort.  In Bucks County, we were leaders in ensuring reporting compliance.  Now, we are looking forward to being leaders in using the data to help guardians and incapacitated persons alike.”

The new forms can be found at www.buckscounty.org/rowofficers/registerofwills/forms

Don Petrille is Bucks County’s Register of Wills and Clerk of the Orphans’ Court.  He is currently the president of the Registers of Wills and Clerks of the Orphans’ Court Association of Pennsylvania, and has served as its legislative liaison since 2016.  He is vice president of the Pennsylvania State Association of Elected County Officials and a member of the Pennsylvania Historical and Museum Commission’s County Records Committee.  He regularly teaches CLE seminars for the Bucks County Bar Association and the Pennsylvania Bar Institute.  Since 2015, he has been asked by the Administrative Office of Pennsylvania Courts to serve on several committees regarding judicial automation, record retention and privacy.  He lives in Bedminster Township with his wife, Andrea and his two daughters.  Mr. Petrille has been in office since 2012.