In order to open an estate, you must go to the courthouse located in the county where the decedent was residing when he or she passed away.

The executor must bring the original will, signed and witnessed by the decedent. The executor(s) named in the will must be present. If the executor does not wish to handle the estate, then they will need to sign a renunciation which will be presented to the Register of Wills. In this case, the alternate executor can proceed. The court also requires the executor to bring photo identification (i.e. drivers’ license).

Finally, you will need to pay the filing fees, which are based on the size of the estate, plus costs for each short certificate.