Orphans' Court

The Clerk of Orphans' Court is a division of the Civil Court of Common Pleas. The first case was filed to "take an account to the improvements and usages of the States of Orphans." (From the Estate of Gilbert Wheelers, Bucks County Orphans' Court Records, Book 1A c. 1683)

Our cases include all estate proceedings before the Court of Common Pleas, Guardianship and Adoption cases, as well as Marriage Licenses and other proceedings.

Primary Function

The primary function of the Clerk of Orphans' Court is as filing office and custodian of the Court records. The Clerk accepts the pleadings for cases submitted for consideration by the court as well as documents not requiring court action but compulsory to be filed in an estate matter. A fee bill is set to cover the cost of filing. 

The filings that call for court action are reviewed by the Court Administration Office to ensure compliance with the state and local rules before being forwarded to the Judge's Chambers for consideration. While the permanent home of the files is with the Orphans' Court, files travel throughout the Courthouse during processing. Ultimately, the Orphans' Court maintains these files and ensures their safety and integrity.

The Orphans' Court staff cannot provide any legal advice.


To locate any forms referenced for filings on this page, please visit our Forms page.

  1. Example Filings
  2. Subpoenas
  3. Adoptions
  4. Estates/Audits
  5. Incapacitated Person
  6. File Access
  7. Minor's Guardian
  8. Miscellaneous

Examples of Filings Requiring Court Action

  • Petitions for Adoption
  • Accountings for Audit by the Court
  • Petitions for guardians, incapacitated persons and minors
  • Minor's Compromises
  • Petitions for Settlement of Small Estate
  • Petitions for Wrongful Death and Survival Actions

Examples of Filings Not Requiring Court Action

  • Powers of Attorney
  • Family Settlement Agreements
  • Claims against an Estate
  • Disclaimers of inheritance