What is Probate? 
Probate is the process by which an estate is established for a decedent and representatives are appointed to handle the decedent's affairs.

Letters, also known as short certificates, are produced as a result of opening an estate. The Register of Wills issues Letters Testamentary and Letters of Administration.

Necessary Documents
The necessary documents for entering into probate include:
  • An Estate Information Sheet (revision 346)
  • An original death certificate
  • A will, if one exists
  • Petition for Grant of Letters
The Estate Information Sheet and Petition for Grant of Letters may be found in the Forms section of this website.  

Additional supporting documents may be necessary depending on the type of estate being opened.

Where to Find Legal Advice
The Register of Wills is a filing office and probate is a legal process.

Because our staff members are not permitted to provide legal advice (which includes step-by-step instructions), we strongly advise that you consult an attorney for counsel on probate procedure. The number for the Lancaster County Bar Association's Lawyer Referral Service is 717-393-0737.