What court has jurisdiction over estate proceedings in Pennsylvania?
In Pennsylvania, the Orphans’ Court is the Division of the Court of Common Pleas that serves as the probate court with jurisdiction over estate proceedings. However, the Register of Wills office in each Pennsylvania county acts as a quasi-judicial body whose primary function is to determine whether a document offered for probate should be admitted to the official record. The Register of Wills alone has the authority to appoint personal representatives and grant letters. Prior to opening the official record, the Register of Wills can conduct evidentiary hearings, take testimony, and render decisions on disputed estate matters. Decisions by the Register of Wills may be appealed for specific reasons to the Orphans’ Court Division.