NON-PRECEDENTIAL DECISION - SEE SUPERIOR COURT I.O.P. 65.37
JOAN SHERLOCK : IN THE SUPERIOR COURT OF
THE ESTATE OF: JULIA M. : No. 578 EDA 2020
SHERLOCK, EXECUTOR: KEVIN :
Appeal from the Order Entered January 31, 2020
In the Court of Common Pleas of Chester County Orphans’ Court at
No(s): No. 1518-0854
BEFORE: BOWES, J., KUNSELMAN, J., and MURRAY, J.
MEMORANDUM BY MURRAY, J.: FILED NOVEMBER 13, 2020
Joan Sherlock (Appellant) appeals pro se1 from the order granting the
petition of her brother, Kevin Sherlock (Executor), to evict her from property
owned by the estate of her mother, Julia M. Sherlock (Decedent). We affirm.
The property at issue is 23 Lochwood Lane (the Property), a two-story,
four-bedroom, single-family home. Decedent owned and resided at the
Property until her death on April 15, 2018. Decedent had five children, three
of whom are relevant to this appeal: Appellant, Executor, and their disabled
brother, Andrew Sherlock (Andrew). At the time of Decedent’s death,
Appellant and Andrew resided at the Property with Decedent. Appellant
1 Appellant has been pro se throughout the Orphans’ Court and appellate
moved into the Property approximately 10 years prior to Decedent’s death.
Andrew, who is paraplegic and unable to live independently, had lived there
for approximately 15 years.
Decedent left her entire estate in trust for Andrew’s benefit.2 Her will
appointed Executor as trustee as well as executor. On May 1, 2018, Executor
determined that it would be in Andrew’s best interests to sell the Property and
use the proceeds for Andrew to live in assisted-living more suitable to his
needs. Executor repeatedly asked Appellant to vacate the Property so he
could sell it, but she refused.
On November 27, 2019, Executor filed a petition seeking leave to evict
Appellant from the Property. On January 29, 2020, the Orphans’ Court
convened a hearing. When Executor moved to have the Last Will and
Testament of Decedent entered into evidence, Appellant objected. After the
Orphans’ Court noted that the will was already “a matter of record,” Appellant
stated she would stipulate to the will being a matter of record, and the
Orphans’ Court admitted it as Exhibit P-1. N.T., 1/29/20, at 39-40.
Three witnesses testified: Executor; Michael White, a licensed realtor
retained by Executor to list the Property; and Appellant. Appellant testified,
2 The Orphans’ Court found that Decedent established “a typical special needs
trust which is intended to allow the disabled beneficiary to enjoy the use of
property held in trust for his benefit while at the same time allowing him to
receive governmental benefits to which he is entitled.” Orphans’ Court
Opinion, 1/31/20, at 5.
“I think the house should be sold,” and “I think [And]rew needs to go into a
nursing care facility.”
Id. at 101.
However, Appellant defended her refusal
to vacate the Property, claiming that Executor’s plan to sell the Property and
move Andrew to assisted-living was inconsistent with Decedent’s wishes, and
Executor lacked authority to evict her.
Id. at 112-114
(Appellant stating “it
is still my position that this will is a total fraud [and] my agreement with my
mother was that I would stay in the house until everything with [And]rew was
On January 31, 2020, the Orphans’ Court granted Executor’s petition
and ordered Appellant to move within 45 days. Appellant timely appealed.
Both the Orphans’ Court and Appellant have complied with Pennsylvania Rule
of Appellate Procedure 1925.
On June 18, 2020, Executor filed in this Court an application to quash
this appeal based on deficiencies in Appellant’s brief. On June 24, 2020,
Appellant filed an answer to the application to quash, which did not address
the deficiencies, and stated, “It is denied that any relief is warranted or the
Application to Quash Appeal is valid.” Answer to Application to Quash,
6/24/20, ¶ 1. On July 29, 2020, this Court denied the application to quash
without prejudice to Executor to raise the issue before the merits panel.
Executor has renewed his argument, detailing the deficiencies and citing
prevailing legal authority. See Appellee’s Brief at 6-14. In his summary of
the argument, Executor states:
[Appellant]’s brief does not conform with a single requirement
of Pa.R.A.P. 2111, and she did not file a reproduced record as
required by Pa.R.A.P. 2152. She also did not raise any issues in
the lower court as required by Pa.R.A.P. 302, which acts as a
waiver of all issues. These substantial defects precluded
meaningful review, which warrant suppression of [Appellant]’s
brief and dismissal of the Appeal.
Id. at 6.
For the most part, we agree with Executor. However, we note that in
response to the Orphans’ Court’s order directing her to file a concise statement
of errors complained of on appeal, Appellant timely filed a response stating
her “reasons to appeal,” which the Orphans’ Court deemed a “Concise
Statement of Matters Complained Of,” and to which the Orphans’ Court
responded in a Pa.R.A.P. 1925(a) opinion. See Orphans’ Court Opinion,
4/22/20. Thus, we do not agree with Executor that Appellant did not raise
any issues with the lower court and failed to comply with Pa.R.A.P. 302.
Also, while Appellant has technically failed to include in her brief a
statement of questions involved as prescribed by Pa.R.A.P. 2111(a)(4), she
identifies “issues” of “due process,” “proper consideration of facts or
evidence,” “errors in procedure,” “lack of sufficient evidence,” and “errors in
the judge’s interpretation of the law and ‘Will’ of deceased.” Appellant’s Brief
at 2-6. These issues mirror the reasons for appeal Appellant raised in her
filing in response to the Orphans’ Court order directing a concise statement.
The above notwithstanding, we agree with Executor’s assessment of
Appellant’s brief.3 Most significantly, Appellant has failed to present a cogent
legal argument. Although Appellant intersperses her argument with some
legal terms and authority, the references are either overly general or
inapplicable. See Appellant’s Brief at 1-8; see also Pa.R.A.P. 2119(a)
(requiring appellant develop an argument with citation to and analysis of
Rather than present a legal argument, Appellant reargues her case. For
instance, she asserts the Orphans’ Court improperly failed to find that
Executor was motivated by a desire to “not deal with” Andrew, and “wanted
to retaliate against [Appellant] for not going along with his schemes and
negative decisions surrounding his [sic] Will/Trust and the care for
[Appellant], [And]rew, and the house.” Appellant’s Brief at 2. She also
asserts that Executor “removed [Decedent’s] Will from the house,” and
Decedent “was forced to sign another Will/Trust unknowingly.”
Id. at 3, 7.
This court is not a finder of fact. When we review a decision of the
The findings of a judge of the orphans’ court division, sitting
without a jury, must be accorded the same weight and effect as
the verdict of a jury, and will not be reversed by an appellate court
in the absence of an abuse of discretion or a lack of evidentiary
support. This rule is particularly applicable to findings of fact which
are predicated upon the credibility of the witnesses, whom the
3 For example, Appellant fails to comply with Pa.R.A.P. 2111(a), which
prescribes the 12 “separate and distinct” sections of an appellate brief.
judge has had the opportunity to hear and observe, and upon the
weight given to their testimony.
In re Estate of Cherwinski,
, 167 (Pa. Super. 2004) (citation
Appellant reargues the facts, and makes no legal argument. We have
long held that it is not our obligation to formulate arguments on behalf of an
appellant. Bombar v. W. Am. Ins. Co.,
(Pa. 2009) (“where an appellate brief fails to provide any discussion of a claim
with citation to relevant authority or fails to develop the issue in any other
meaningful fashion capable of review, that claim is waived”).
Although this Court is willing to liberally construe materials filed
by a pro se litigant, pro se status confers no special benefit upon
the appellant. To the contrary, any person choosing to represent
himself in a legal proceeding must, to a reasonable extent,
assume that his lack of expertise and legal training will be his
Wilkins v. Marsico,
Never trust websites which offer a shady ‘advocacy package’ to businesses. Search for relevant reviews on Ripoff Report and Pissed Consumer to see more unbiased reviews.
The above review and comments against Sherlock, J. v. Estate of: Julia Sherlock were submitted by NO-SCAM.com user(s) and have been published as-is. NO-SCAM.com does not edit, alter or remove content published by it’s users. There’s no amount of money a business can pay to manipulate their reviews or complaints and NO-SCAM.com will NOT entertain any request to remove the review on Sherlock, J. v. Estate of: Julia Sherlock at any cost whatsoever.