Probate Estates & Administration
The Register of Wills is the county office where a decedent's estate paperwork is processed. When a person passes away, the Register of Wills appoints a personal representative to administer the estate. This process is referred to as probate.
An estate is probated in the county where the decedent lived. Prior to probating in Bucks County, review the Death Certificate to confirm that Bucks County is the County of residence.
A Short Certificate is a document that the personal representative receives after probating an estate. This document serves as a form of identification verifying that an individual is the legal representative of the estate and as such, can gain access to assets in the deceased’s name alone. Usually, one Short Certificate is required for each financial institution.
The process of appointing a personal representative and receiving these Short Certificates is initiated by filing a Petition for Grant of Letters. This can be done either online or in person at our offices in Doylestown or Levittown.
If filing online, the petition should be started at https://propublic.buckscountyonline.org. The petitioner will need to create an account to e-File Petition for Probate and Grant of Letters.
The following documents are needed to open an estate and will need to be uploaded while e-filing (or brought to the office if probating in-person):
- a copy of valid government-issued photo identification for the petitioner(s) and anyone who will sign documents on the video call, except for an attorney entering their appearance
- estate documents such as the:
- Death Certificate
- Will, if there is one
- Renunciations, if needed
- Witness Affidavits, if needed
- Proof of Bond, if needed
- Any other documents needed
*If unsure what documents are needed staff will determine this when they review the case – this may cause the case to be “rejected.” Corrections can be resubmitted through the e-filing account created.
The petitioner will be charged based on the information submitted online at the time of e-filing. Only probate assets in the decedent’s name alone should be listed. A credit card should be available to pay when e-filing. In-Person petitioners can pay in cash, check, money order, or by credit card.
Once the petition is submitted, the petitioner will receive a confirmation email. Once the filing has been accepted, they will receive an email with a link to schedule a video call. These are completed over Zoom.
After the petition has been e-filed and accepted, all original documents must be submitted to the Register of Wills Doylestown office at the Bucks County Administrative Building:
55 East Court Street
Doylestown, PA 18901.
These can be mailed with tracking (Certified US Post, FedEx or UPS) or hand-delivered to a drop box in the vestibule of the Court Street entrance. A pre-paid and addressed return envelope should also be submitted. After the original documents are reviewed and accepted, the Short Certificates will be released and returned via the return envelope provided.
For any further questions, please email the Register of Wills or call 215-348-6265.