What we do
The Register of Wills is an elected position. Our office serves as both the Register of Wills and the Clerk of the Orphans’ Court. As part of our work, we:
- Issue marriage licenses and keep marriage records dating back to 1915.
- Probate wills, which proves that they're valid.
- Issue letters of administration when a Philadelphia resident dies without a will.
- Keep records of wills, estate inventories, and related documents.
- Act as an agent for filing and paying inheritance taxes.
- Maintain the dockets and records of the Orphan's Court.
We can walk you through the probate process, but we cannot provide legal advice. We may recommend that you get an attorney.
Nothing from October 1, 2023 to January 1, 2024.
Tracey Gordon has served as a pillar of change for Philadelphian constituents for over 20 years. Her organizing and legislative success as a block captain and committeewoman in her modest Southwest Philadelphia neighborhood have propelled her from the ranks of local grassroots leadership and advocacy to an established city-wide activist. Now she serves at Philadelphia’s first African American Register of Wills.
Register Gordon’s impactful voice in Philadelphia has inspired thousands of community members to emerge as effective leaders in support of her appeals for cleaner neighborhoods, modernized recreation centers, and overall better quality of life for under-represented communities. Her courageousness and determination for community-based representation within Philadelphia’s public offices serve as the blueprint for current grassroots candidates and is truly reflective of the American democratic process.
Born in Philadelphia during the height of the Civil Rights Movement to a former police officer mother and filmmaker father (Jamaa Fanaka); community servitude has been instilled in Gordon since childhood. She was first introduced to public service at her High School alma mater West Catholic, where she excelled in civics. Gordon continued her education at Temple University graduating with honors in business administration. Her academic success as a collegiate garnered support from her peers and professors on campus that resulted in several scholars awards.
Gordon, recognizing the importance of homeownership utilized these resources and purchased her first property for her family of four in the then Irish-Catholic neighborhood of Southwest Philadelphia. As the demographics of the neighborhood began to shift she realized the community outreach from public offices began to decrease. Despite the demographic changes, Gordon demanded that the educational institutions, community safety, and public spaces remained as they had been when she initially purchased her home. Her tireless efforts have resulted in election protection laws, city-wide neighborhood clean-ups, advocacy for seniors and youth, as well as property value increase and protection.
As the Register of Wills, Tracey Gordon continues her selfless service to Philadelphia constituents. Implementing comprehensive probate reform and increasing diversity within Philadelphia’s public offices. Register of Wills Tracey Gordon and her entire office work to fix our Tangled Title Crisis and improve Philadelphia’s quality of life.