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Register of Wills

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Glossary of Terms

Administrator: a person legally vested with the right of administration of an estate

Certificate: a document containing a certified statement especially as to the truth of something; specifically

Codicil: a legal instrument made to modify an earlier will

Decedent: a deceased person — used chiefly in law

Estate: the degree, quality, nature, and extent of one's interest in land or other property; possessions, property; especially: a person's real property; the assets and liabilities left by a person at death

Executor: the person appointed by a testator to execute a will

Inter vivos trust: living trust

Intestate: having made no valid will

License: a permission granted by competent authority to engage in a business or occupation or in an activity otherwise unlawful

Lineal descendants: someone who is directly related to a person who lived in the past; son, daughter, grandchild

Living trust: a trust that becomes effective during the lifetime of the settlor —called also inter vivos trust

Personal Representative: Person named in a will (Executor/ Executrix) or appointed by the Register (Administrator/Administratrix) to administer an estate.

Plenary: complete in every respect: absolute, unqualified

Probate: the action or process of proving before a competent judicial authority that a document offered for official recognition and registration as the last will and testament of a deceased person is genuine

Property: something owned or possessed; specifically: a piece of real estate; the exclusive rights to possess, enjoy, and dispose of a thing: ownership; something to which a person or business has a legal title; one (as a performer) who is under contract and whose work is especially valuable

Settlor: one that makes a settlement or creates a trust of property

Testate: having left a valid will

Testament: an act by which a person determines the disposition of his or her property after death

Testator/testatrix: a person who dies leaving a will or testament in force

Trust: a property interest held by one person for the benefit of another

Will: a written instrument legally executed by which a person makes disposition of his or her estate to take effect after death

Merriam-Webster Online Dictionary.  2012.  http://www.merriam-webster.com April 23, 2012.

Please Note:
All information on this webpage is to inform and not to advise. It is based upon Pennsylvania law. The statements are general, and individual facts in a given case may alter their application or involve other laws not referred to here. 

Register of Wills & Clerk of Orphans' Court

Bucks County Courthouse
55 East Court Street 
6th Floor, Administration Building (New Location)
Doylestown, PA 18901

Phone: 215-348-6265
Fax: 215-348-6156 



Monday through Friday, 8:00 am to 4:15 pm 
1st & 3rd Wednesday every month – open until 7:30 pm (Doylestown Office Only)

Offsite Location for Probate & Marriage License Application: 
Lower Bucks Government Service Center 
7321 New Falls Road
Levittown, PA 19055
Phone: 267-580-3585
Hours: Monday through Friday 8:30 am to 4:00 pm
(Closed for lunch between 12:00 and 1:00 pm)
Appointments are encouraged at this location