Updated: Oct 23
In Chester County, the Register of Wills oversees the administration of estates and probate proceedings. They serve as the official custodian of all wills and codicils filed in the county, as well as the documentation related to the granting of letters testamentary (which grant the legal authority to act as an executor of a will) and letters of administration (which grant an individual permission to access and manage an Estate after someone passes away).
The primary responsibility of the office is to ensure that the wishes of deceased individuals are carried out in a legally sound and fair manner.
One of the crucial functions of the Register of Wills is to guide citizens through the probate process, which can be complex and emotionally taxing. The office provides valuable assistance in the understanding of legal requirements, filing necessary paperwork, and navigating the various steps involved in settling an estate. By offering expert guidance, the Register of Wills helps streamline the probate process, allowing grieving families to focus on healing rather than legal intricacies.
Further, the Register of Wills serves as a guardian of public records. They maintain a comprehensive and accurate record of all probate proceedings in the county, ensuring transparency and accountability. This role is particularly important for citizens who may need to access these records for legal or genealogical purposes. By upholding the integrity of these documents, the Register of Wills safeguards the rights and interests of individuals over time.
The Register of Wills acts as a cornerstone of the local legal system, providing essential services that facilitate the orderly distribution of assets and the protection of individuals' rights. They offer invaluable support to citizens during a challenging period, ultimately contributing to the overall well-being and stability of the Chester County community.
Unfortunately, the current capabilities of the Office are somewhat reduced, with a Register of Wills who is rarely present. Unlike in the past, appointments are now required to obtain a marriage license or to probate an estate. Electing former Register of Wills Terri Clark on November 7, and returning her to office will restore this critical County service to its former level of excellence.
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