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Begin the probate process (with a will)

When a person dies and leaves a will with assets in their name only, the will must go through a probate process. This process proves that the will is valid.

If you have been named as the executor of a will, the Register of Wills can help you begin the probate process. If no executor is named, the wording of the will may be used to determine who can administer the estate.

Requirements

The “decedent,” or person who died, must have:

  • Been a Philadelphia resident at the time of their death.
  • Or, held real property in Philadelphia without holding personal property in any other state.

There is a different process if the decedent did not leave a will.

Cost

The fees depend on the size of the estate. For more information, view the fee schedule.

How

1
Contact the Probate Department to schedule an appointment.

You can contact us at (215) 686-6255 or ProbateAppt@phila.gov. Our office hours are Monday through Friday, 8 a.m. to 4 p.m.

City Hall
Room 180
Philadelphia, PA 19107

2
Prepare your documentation and payment.

You’ll need to bring:

  • The original will.
  • An original death certificate.
  • An estimate of the estate’s value.
  • A valid, current form of ID.

You’ll also need to pay the probate fees. You can use Visa, Mastercard, a certified check, or a money order.

3
Complete the petition for probate and grant of letters testamentary at your appointment.

The Register of Wills will help you complete your paperwork, but they cannot provide legal advice. It may be helpful for you to hire an attorney to provide advice, answer legal questions, and help you through the process.

What happens next

Your petition will be examined. Once the will and executor are officially recognized by the court, the executor can move forward with administering the estate.


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