What do I need when I come to the office to open the estate?
  • Original will - if the decedent had one. This office keeps the original will.
  • Death certificate
    Person(s) who can qualify as executor(s) or administrator(s)
  • Approximate value of the decedent’s estate. This is the value, as of date of death, of the real estate and personal property of the decedent. You must determine what items constitute the decedent’s estate. The staff may not assist you with this valuation. We suggest you consider this before you come into the office and discuss this matter with a professional, if necessary.
  • Check or cash for probate fees. This amount varies based on the value of the decedent’s estate as discussed in #4. You may call prior to coming in to obtain an estimate of what the fees may be (610-278-3400.

Show All Answers

1. What services does the Register of Wills Office provide?
2. Are all wills open to the public?
3. What does it mean to register a will?
4. Why is a will registered or probated?
5. What is probate?
6. What does the word intestate mean?
7. The decedent died without a will. Now what do I do?
8. What is a short certificate?
9. Why do you keep the original will?
10. Does a will get registered or filed after it is written?
11. I cannot find the original will. I only have a copy. What can I do?
12. What is a testator?
13. What are letters testamentary and letters of administration?
14. Do I need an attorney to apply for letters testamentary or letters of administration?
15. Who can be appointed administrator?
16. What do I need when I come to the office to open the estate?
17. Does your office assist in the preparation of the inheritance tax return?
18. Does the law require the signature of the testator to be witnessed at the time of signing?
19. What property passes by wills?
20. Is there any time limitation on the validity of a will?
21. Are life insurance proceeds subject to Pennsylvania inheritance tax?
22. Are transfers made prior to the decedent's death subject to Pennsylvania inheritance tax?
23. Does Pennsylvania recognize convenience account?
24. What are the spousal tax rates?
25. When is a will effective?