Intestate means someone has died without a will.
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Our offices are located on the first floor of the courthouse annex at the corner of North River and Jackson Streets in Wilkes-Barre, across the street from the main courthouse.
Our office is open 9 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Monday through Friday, except for holidays. If you are filing for a marriage license, please be in the office by 4 p.m. to allow ample time for processing the application. If you are filing a document or requesting a copy, please be in the office before 4:20 p.m.
All records in the Register of Wills and Orphan’s Court departments are open to the public with the exception of all Adoption records and Guardianship records filed after January 6, 2018 . Adoption records are sealed by law and are available only by order of the court. If you are an adult adoptee and wish to obtain information on adoptions granted in Luzerne County please submit request in writing to:
Act 101 Coordinator, Orphans' Court, Luzerne County Courthouse, Brominski Building, 113 West North Street, Wilkes-Barre, PA 18711. Please provide as many details as possible, such as full name given at birth, birth date, adoption date (or approximate time period) and full name following adoption.
Please contact the Court at 570-822-0764 for any questions other than requests for information.
Guardianship records filed after January 6, 2018, except for the Final Decree and the Docket, are only available to parties of interest on the case.
You may come to the office to review any record, except adoption records and guardianship records (filed after January 6, 2018), during normal business hours. Older files are in storage and will need to be requested for retrieval from the Records' Center. Request must be made several days in advance or you may mail your request for information together with the research fee to:Register of Wills200 N River StreetWilkes-Barre, PA 18701
Register of Wills documents filed from 2004 to present can also be viewed on line on Landex Remote and Landex Webstore
We do not do research over the phone.
There is a fee of $30 made payable to the Register of Wills to search for an estate or a marriage license. Requester must supply the full name of the decedent and the date of death or date of birth with a self-addressed, stamped envelope for the return of the requested information. For a marriage license requester must supply Groom's full name, Bride's name at the time the license was issued (include maiden name) and the date of the marriage. If a certified marriage license is requested, please include fee of $25.00 per certified copy made payable to Register of Wills.
Probate is the procedure by which a will is proved to be valid or invalid according to the laws of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania.
A will is probated to authorize a representative to administer estate assets and to make known the decedent's wishes for their property at death.
A short certificate is a certification that a probate/administration proceeding is on file in our office and that the Personal Representative’s appointment has not been revoked. The only way to obtain a short certificate is to open an estate in the Register of Wills Office for the deceased person.
A will is probated only after the testator dies. It is important to keep the will in a safe place before this time and to tell your family, heirs and/or personal representative the location of your will.
Our office is required by law to keep the original will as a part of the permanent record.
We suggest you contact an attorney to prepare a petition for hearing.
These are documents issued by the Register of Wills authorizing a person(s) to act as the personal representative of the decedent’s estate. It is the authority required to access records and assets, as well as make distributions.
We cannot mandate that you use an attorney. Due to litigation liability employees in this office cannot give legal advice. We are not permitted to aid in the preparation of any forms. Unless you know what, how and when to do each step of the estate process, we urge you to at least consult with an attorney. We cannot refund filing fees if an estate was raised and later discovered it was not necessary to do so.
No. This office is only an agent for the Department of Revenue in the filing and processing of inheritance returns and payments. The staff is not trained to give advice on the correct completion of the forms or calculation of the tax. Please contact an attorney or an accountant for assistance or call the Department of Revenue at 717-787-8327.
View marriage license information on the marriage licenses page and find access to online marriage application. If starting the application process online, do not print the application itself, just the page with the number after the application has been submitted. Bring this with you when you and your partner come into our office to finalize your application process.
A certified marriage license can be obtained either in person at the office or by mail request at:
Register of Wills200 N River StreetWilkes-Barre, PA 18711
There is a $25 fee made payable to the “Register of Wills” for a certified marriage license. Please provide the full name of the groom and the full name of the bride at the time applying for the license (include maiden name), as well as, the date of the marriage. If making a request by mail, include a self-addressed, stamped envelope for return of the certification. The fee applies as a search fee even if a marriage license is not found in Luzerne County
No, we only maintain marriage records. You can obtain a copy of your divorce decree from the office of civil records in the county where your divorce was filed and finalized. In Luzerne County, this would be the Prothonotary’s Office.