Probate, Wills & Estates

When a person dies owning assets in his or her name alone, an estate must be started by a personal representative to handle the person's assets and take care of settling the person's affairs.  This is called the "probate" or estate administration process.  The person who died is known as the "decedent."

The personal representative is called an Executor if he or she is appointed in the decedent’s will.  If the decedent did not have a will, the personal representative is called an Administrator.

PLA provides advice and referrals for clients who need help probating an estate.

In addition, PLA provides legal advice to clients who wish to draft a will or have questions about wills and estates.  In some cases we are able to make a referral to a free private attorney who will prepare a will for a client.

How to get help with Probate, Wills & Estates

The following departments at PLA provide legal assistance with Probate, Wills & Estates:

Intake Procedure:

Applicants may apply for assistance from the General Intake Unit by calling the telephone intake line or applying online.

Self-Help Resources

Overview of wills in Pennsylvania

This fact sheet from the Register of Wills answers many frequently asked questions about wills.

Register of Wills

The Register of Wills is an office in City Hall where you can get help with probating an estate.

Probate resources

The attached self-help guide, Basic of Probate, explains what you need to know to probate a will or administer an estate.