Pa Probate – 4 – Register of Wills
After the Will is located (or it is determined that the decedent had no will), the next step in the Pa Estate Administration process is to open the Estate and have a personal representative appointed.
This is done by going to the Register of Wills in the County in which the decedent resided. The Register of Wills is part of the Court of Common Pleas, which has jurisdiction over the estate administration. The Executor named in the Will should be appointed as the personal representative (if the decedent died intestate, an Administrator will be appointed).
Testate (with a Will)
If a person dies with a Last Will, they died “Testate.”
The Register of Wills then normally appoints, from the person named in the Will, a Personal Representative (Executor or Executrix) to handle the Estate affairs.
Intestate (without a Will)
Ia a person dies without a Last Will, they died “Intestate.”
The person who will be appointed as the Personal Representative depends upon their relationship with the deceased. Preference is given to adults who have not been declared incapacitated, in the order in which they would take portions of the estate, under the intestate laws.
A person who would otherwise be qualified to administer the estate may file a renunciation with the Register of Wills, asking that someone else be appointed instead. The renunciation only gives up the right to administer the estate. It does not waive the right to inherit the interest in the estate.