The information provided on this website is not intended to be legal advice or to offer any opinion of the legal remedies available. The staff of the Register of Wills/Clerk of the Orphans’ Court is not permitted to offer opinions, directions or instructions on any matter that may be construed as legal advice. Our office provides the forms but cannot offer any direction or legal advice as to the preparation.
Opening estates will be by appointment only. Please forward the completed required documents and the applicable filing fee to open an estate to the Register of Wills, Room 122, prior to opening the estate. The required documents will include the following: Petition for Probate and Grant of Letters, Estate Information Sheet, certified copy of the death certificate for decedent, and original Last Will and Testament of decedent, if applicable. There may be other documents depending on circumstances of the estate. Upon receipt of all the requisite documents, a representative from this office will contact you as to whether you need any additional documents, and to make an appointment for the Executor/ Administrator to sign the Petition and be sworn in before a Clerk from this office. Appointments are made for in person at the Register of Wills, Room 122, Erie County Courthouse, or via videoconference. We need a working email address to make the appointment via videoconference.
In addition to other duties, the Register of Wills serves as an agent for the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania for filing and payment of Inheritance Taxes. The inheritance tax return and payment is filed at the Register of Wills, and is then forwarded to the Commonwealth by this office. If you have questions, you should contact an attorney or an accountant for assistance.
All records in the Register of Wills are open to the public with the exception of Adoption records, which are impounded (sealed by the Court) by law and available only by order of Court.
- Download the latest fee schedule for Register of Wills.
Opening an Estate
Many state forms may be found on the PA Courts site in an up-to-date PDF format. http://www.pacourts.us/forms/for-the-public/orphans-court-forms
- Rev-346 – Estate Information Sheet – PA Department of Revenue
- RW 02 – Petition for Grant of Letters – PA Courts
- RW 06 – Renunciation (Effective 01-01-2020) – PA Courts
- RW 03 – Oath of Subscribing Witness(es) (Effective 01-01-2020) – PA Courts
- RW 04 – Oath of Non-subscribing Witness(es) (Effective 01-01-2020) – PA Courts
- Inheritance tax forms for Pennsylvania including the inheritance tax form may be found on the PA Department of Revenue.
- Inheritance Tax Prepayment Form – PA Department of Revenue
- RW 09 – Inventory (Effective 01-01-2020) – PA Courts
- Small Estate Affidavit