Koury, Jr., Esq., is a graduate of the Hill School in Pottstown, the
University of Pittsburgh, and received his law degree from Duquesne University.
He resides with his wife in Phoenixville and is the proud father of three sons
and grandfather of two granddaughters.
Mr. Koury is the Managing Partner
of O’Donnell, Weiss & Mattei, P.C., and his areas of practice include Land
Use, Municipal, Real Estate, Banking, Corporate, Estates and Elder
He has been very active in the Montgomery Bar Association as well as
many community organizations; as a Former Director of Visiting Nurse Association
of Pottstown and Vicinity, Past President and Director of The Schuylkill River
Greenway Association, Montgomery County Community College Foundation, Former
Bank Director and General Counsel to Elverson National Bank, Member of Advisory
Board for National Penn Bank and as a Director of National Penn Investors Trust
Company. In addition, he has served as the Solicitor for East Coventry Township,
Upper Providence Township Zoning Hearing Board, and Pottstown Area Industrial
Development Corp., as well as various other municipalities.
personally served clients in the tri-county area for over 40 years, Mr. Koury
leads OWM with a strong sense of commitment to community and with high standards
of professional competence.
The material in this publication was created as of the date set forth above and is based on laws, court decisions, administrative rulings and congressional materials that existed at that time, and should not be construed as legal advice or legal opinions on specific facts. The information in this publication is not intended to create, and the transmission and receipt of it does not constitute, a lawyer-client relationship.
Multiple-Party Accounts Act As To
Passing to Surviving Owners
Are jointly registered accounts, specifically "convenience accounts,"
controlled by the Multiple-Party Accounts Act ("MPAA")? YES
[NOTE: A prior panel of the Superior Court previously
interpreted Paragraph 6304(a) of the MPAA as not creating a presumption of
survivorship where such a presumption conflicted with a pre-existing Will that
manifested a different testamentary intent as to the property at issue. See OWM
Newsletter - April, 2010, discussing the March 25, 2010, decision of the
Pennsylvania Supreme Court which reversed the Pennsylvania Superior Court’s
Decision. In Re Estate of Alice G. Novosielski,
- Statute: The Multiple Party Accounts Act 20 PA.C.S.A. 6301-6306 has
been upheld by the Pennsylvania Superior Court on remand from the PA Supreme
Court as set forth in the Pa Superior Court Decision In Re: Amelia
J. Piet, Deceased, No. WDA2007, Memorandum Decision filed April
26, 2011, in the Superior Court of Pennsylvania.
- Facts: On April 13, 2004, the Decedent, Amelia J. Piet, died at the
age of 80, leaving to survive her four (4) children. On April 28, 2004, the
Decedent’s Will was probated with daughter, Ann Ball, and son, Edward J. Piet,
being appointed as Co-Executors. Decedent’s husband, Edward A. Piet, had died on
June 29, 1986, and all assets of the couple passed to the Decedent, Amelia J.
Piet. After the death of her husband, the Decedent relied upon the financial
experience of her two (2) oldest children, both of whom she then appointed as
Co-Executors of her estate.
- Main issue on appeal to the Superior Court: Whether nine (9) bank or
investment accounts entered into jointly with right of survivorship by the
Decedent and daughter, Ann Ball, as to eight (8) accounts, or Edward J. Piet, as
to one (1) account are probate assets. These nine (9) accounts were not listed
as estate assets and the co-Executors Ann Ball and Edward J. Piet, testified
that said accounts were intended to be joint accounts, and that the Decedent
wanted them to retain the assets after Decedent’s death.
- Trial Court: By its Order of September 18, 2006, found that two (2)
joint accounts were ‘convenience accounts’ and probate assets; but that the
remaining seven (7) joint accounts were not probate assets; and that no written
or oral family settlement agreement existed requiring the sharing of all assets
including these accounts equally among the four (4) children.
- Alleged Error by the Trial Court: Finding that Convenience Accounts
are subject to inclusion in Probate Estate despite joint registration of
- Superior Court Analysis: All issues relating to the joint bank
accounts are addressed by Paragraph 6304(a) of MPAA and the rebuttable
presumption that jointly held bank accounts exist with right of survivorship
should one of the parties thereto die. Said presumption can only be overcome by
clear and convincing evidence that it was not the intent of the parties that the
bank account was jointly held with right of survivorship.
Paragraph 6304. Right of Survivorship
(a) Joint account. … any sums remaining on deposit on the death of a party to a
joint account belong to the surviving party or parties as against the estate of
the Decedent unless there is clear and convincing evidence of a different intent
at the time the account is created . . .
- Superior Court Decision: Evidence of Decedent’s sole funding of
"convenience account" as jointly registered and Decedent’s treating the account
as her own during her lifetime do not establish clear and convincing evidence
that the Decedent did not intend to confer a right of survivorship.
(1) The trial court’s decision was based on the
fact that two (2) of the accounts were set up merely as ‘convenience accounts’
and that the funds in the account were deposited entirely by the Decedent.
Recent case law, however, indicates that neither of these reasons overcomes the
right of survivorship presumed under Paragraph 6304(a) of the MPAA. The trial
court’s reasoning was wholly at odds with PA Superior Court’s interpretation of
the provisions of Paragraph 6304(a).
(2) The MPAA makes it clear that the joint
accounts with a presumed right of survivorship are not treated as intervivos gifts from one account holder to another. Rather,
the MPAA plainly provides: "A joint account belongs, during the
lifetime of all parties, to the parties in proportion to the net
contributions by each to the sum on deposit, unless there is clear and
convincing evidence of a different intent." See Paragraph 6303(a).
(3) The theory of these sections is that the
basic relationship of the parties is that of individual ownership of values
attributable to their respective deposits and withdrawals; the right of
survivorship which attaches unless negated by the form of the account really is
a right to the values theretofore owned by another which the survivor
receives for the first time at the death of the owner (emphasis
added). That is to say that the account operates as a valid disposition at
death rather than as a present joint tenancy when the account is established in
the first instance and during the lifetime of all parties.
(4) See OWM
Newsletter of April, 2010, for suggestions as to methods of providing "clear
and convincing evidence of intent" in disposing of your property upon your death
before establishing such joint accounts, changing title names, or executing or
revising your Will.
Read Legal Ease every other Sunday in the Pottstown Mercury.
See Legal Talk, brought to you by OWM, on PCTV, Tuesdays at 8:30 on Channel
28, and Thursdays at 9:30 p.m. on Channel 98, and also on our website at http://www.owmlaw.com/legal_talk/legal_talk.php.
O'Donnell,Weiss & Mattei, P.C.
41 E. High Street
Pottstown, PA 19464
347 Bridge Street, Suite 200
Phoenixville, PA 19460