Welcome to the County of Berks
Berks County Register of Wills
  • Berks County COVID-19 Help Center - email at COVID@countyofberks.com or call 610-320-6150. Staff will be answering phones and responding to emails seven days a week between the hours of 8:00 AM and 7:00 PM. Multilingual services are available. If a person has a Social Service question or need they should call 211. If a person is experiencing a medical emergency, they should call 911.
 

 About the Register of Wills/Clerk of Orphans' Court

 

The Register of Wills and Clerk of the Orphan's Court is an elected official who serves as a dual officeholder and whose primary function is to determine whether the document offered for probate should be received as the last will of the decedent. When disputes arise at the time of probate, the Register, as a quasi-judicial officer, is empowered to hold hearings, take testimony, review evidence and render decisions on how the administration of the estate shall proceed.

Responsibilities as Clerk of Orphan's Court include maintaining the docket and files for adoptions, guardianships and other issues which may come before the Orphans' Court Judge, as well as taking applications for, and issuing, marriage licenses.

Finally, the Register of Wills is a mandated keeper of all records filed here, and since those records must be kept forever, the office is a great resource for genealogical information.

 

 Announcements

 
  • Updated Office Procedures 3/19/2020 through 4/7/2020

    EFFECTIVE 3/23/2020 AND THROUGH THE CLOSE OF BUSINESS ON 4/7/2020 AND SUBJECT TO EXTENSION, THE FOLLOWING MEASURES HAVE BEEN IMPLEMENTED DUE TO THE COVID-19 STATE OF EMERGENCY.

    PLEASE BE ADVISED:

    The Register's Office will only be "open" from 9:00 am until 11:00 am Monday through Friday for the duration of the declared emergency.  Please see below for services that are available and how to access them. The Register & Management Staff will be available by email at rwills@countyofberks.com during regular business hours to assist you with your needs. Please return to this website often, as updates will be posted reflecting the evolving situation. Thank you and we wish you good health and safety during this challenging time.

    1. MARRIAGE LICENSE APPLICANTS: Unless one of the applicants is subject to imminent military deployment (Orders of same must be presented in writing), FOR EVERYONE'S SAFETY, we are unable to accept any applications for marriage license at this time. For military, applications must be initiated on-line and will be completed for signature by appointment only. NO WALK-INS WILL BE PERMITTED TO ENTER THE SERVICES CENTER. Please email rwills@countyofberks.com to schedule appointments. If you are scheduled, do not bring any unnecessary persons with you, only the applicants may appear if both are age 18 or over. ONLY BERKS COUNTY RESIDENTS' APPLICATIONS WILL BE ACCEPTED DURING THE DECLARED EMERGENCY.
    2. MARRIAGE CERTIFICATIONS can be requested by email using rwills@countyofberks.com, US mail, or by phone at 610-478-6600 subject to the hours above. Please do not come to the office at this time. Thank you.
    3. All routine PETITIONS, with a check for payment attached, will be placed in a drop box in the lobby of the Services Center, accessed through the revolving door near the security post. Routine Petitions may also be filed by mail if the Petition is not time-sensitive.
    4. Attorneys with large or MULTIPLE FILINGS shall call 610-478-6600 subject to the hours above, or email rwills@countyofberks.com to schedule an appointment.
    5. EMERGENCY PETITIONS  may be filed in person, but an appointment will still be necessary. Please call 610-478-6600 subject to the hours above, or email rwills@countyofberks.com prior to filing, so emergencies can be coordinated with the Court. There is one Judge sitting for emergency motions only.
    6. The RESEARCH CENTER is closed. Title Searchers may view records on-line or call 610-478-6600 subject to the hours above, or for assistance us the email link below. Genealogy requests should be emailed to rwills@countyofberks.com.
  • Virtual Probate Process

    EFFECTIVE MONDAY, MARCH 23RD ​THROUGH FRIDAY, APRIL 7TH AND SUBJECT TO EXTENSION, THERE WILL BE NO "IN PERSON PROBATES" IN THE BERKS REGISTER OF WILLS OFFICE

    VIDEO CONFERENCING PROCESS FOR VIRTUAL PROBATE PROCEEDINGS BEFORE THE REGISTER AS AUTHORIZED BY EMERGENCY ORDER OF THE PA SUPREME COURT

    1. In order to proceed by Video Conferencing the following documents SHALL be transmitted electronically, or the originals placed in the drop box located in the Services Center Lobby, IN ADVANCE OF SCHEDULING A VIRTUAL PROBATE PROCEEDING:
      1. Copy of the decendent's Will when one exists, completed probate petition as well as any other documents necessary to proceed to open the estate
      2. Copy of Death Certificate
      3. Photo ID of those taking oaths
    2. Attorney must be present with clients at the remote location, or by electronic means. We will not proceed unless client is represented. Counsel will provide clients with any documents to be executed.
    3. Register or Deputy must be able to see personal representative and any witnesses actually sign the petition and oaths.
    4. No video conferencing for pro se estates. During this time period, ANYONE WISHING TO PROCEED WITH PROBATE SHALL BE REPRESENTED BY COUNSEL.
    5. No additional fee will be associated with this service during the course of the declared emergency.
    6. The attorney is responsible for scheduling the video conference with the Register of Wills Office by calling (610) 478-6600. Attorneys shall email if there is no answer. Documents and all requests shal be emailed to: rwills@countyofberks.com.
    7. Teleconference will take place via FaceTime, Skype or Zoom.  Manner will be determined at the time attorney schedules the Virtual Probate.
    8. Original documents and payment for Probate Fees shall be mailed to the Register's Office, or attorney may utilize the drop box in the Services Center Lobby accessed at the revolving door.  After a full review of the physical documents, assuming all are in order, Letters, Shorts and associated documents will be issued and mailed to the attorney.
  • New Fee Schedules Effective 4/1/2020

    ​Please be advised that effective April 1, 2020, pursuant to 42 P.S. Section 21022.1, the Register of Wills will be implementing a new Bill of Costs for the Register of Wills and Orphans' Court.

    Thank You, Larry Medaglia and Staff

    Fee Schedule: Orphans' Court (Effective 4/1/2020)
    Fee Schedule: Register of Wills (Effective 4/1/2020)

  • Orphans' Court Complete Rules
    The Updated Orphans' Court Rules, with incorporated amendments, are now available.
  • Orphans' Court Procedural Changes
    • When filing documents, please do not staple the original -- it makes for easier scanning.​
    • Because we do not have electronic filing, please make sure all filed documents contain an original signature, in blue ink.
     

Contact Information

Address
Berks County Register of Wills
Berks County Services Center
633 Court Street, 2nd Floor
Reading, PA 19601


Phone:610-478-6600
Email: rwills@countyofberks.com

Office Hours:  Monday thru Friday, 8:00 a.m. - 4:30 p.m.