Pennsylvania Courts Implement a Statewide Uniform Guardianship Tracking System (GTS) Effective Immediately

Contributed by Nora Gieg Chatha

By Order dated August 31, 2018, the Supreme Court of Pennsylvania adopted new Rule 501 of the Pennsylvania Rules of Judicial Administration, amending 204 Pa. Code § 207.3, effective immediately.

Rule 501 creates an entirely new rule establishing a Guardianship Tracking System (GTS), developed and to be administered by the Supreme Court Administrative Office as the exclusive electronic filing system for filing inventories and reports for guardianships of the person and estate, and for tracking of all data related to guardianship cases of adult incapacitated persons.

In pertinent part, the note to Rule 501 provides that, “the Guardianship Tracking System (GTS) will provide all court-appointed guardians of adult incapacitated person the convenience of filing inventories and annual reports online. Use of the System will alleviate the need for tracking additional paper filings. The System will also assist the Unified Judicial System with tracking and monitoring of statewide practice relating to guardianship cases as was recommended by the Supreme Court’s Elder Law Task Force, and the Advisory Council on Elder Justice in the Courts. The applicable rules of court shall continue to apply to all guardianship filings in guardianship cases. This Rule is effective immediately.”

GTS will be the exclusive method for electronically filing required reports and inventories regarding the guardian of the person and estate, and for tracking guardianship data statewide for adult incapacitated persons. Presently, court appointed guardians may file reports and inventories either in electronic format through the GTS system or in physical paper format through the clerk of the court where the guardianship was adjudicated. Court appointed guardians wishing to file electronically through the GTS shall established a Unified Judicial System web portal account at http://usjportal.pacourts.us and register for access through the procedures established by the Supreme Court’s Administrative Office.

A guardian’s establishment of a GTS account through the Unified Judicial System portal constitutes acceptance of electronic notices through the system. Additional fees may be imposed for electronic filings and may be paid electronically through the GTS system. Submission of electronic filings satisfies the recording requirements of Pennsylvania Orphans’ Court Rule 14.

Rule 501 also allows the use of electronic signatures. If notice is required under Pennsylvania Orphans’ Court Rule 14, a guardian filing electronically through GTS shall be responsible for serving notice of the filing within ten days after the filing of the report in accordance with Pennsylvania Orphans’ Court Rule 4.3.

When a guardian elects to file reports or inventories in physical format, the clerk shall ensure that the filed document is manually entered into GTS in order to maximize data collection.

For questions regarding initiating a guardianship, seeking review or compliance with the duties of a court appointed guardian, please contact Nora Gieg Chatha at nchatha@tuckerlaw.com or 412-594-3940 to arrange for consultation.