For immediate Release on behalf of the Register of Wills
For more information contact Colleen Strunk at 215-348-6263
DOYLESTOWN, PA – Don Petrille, Bucks County Register of Wills and Clerk of the Orphans’ Court, today announced the launch of an electronic filing program for Register of Wills documents. Initially, the program will be available for any filing, once an initial filing is made via traditional personal or by mail methods.
The program will allow parties to estate proceedings to file documents such as renunciations, affidavits, certifications and status reports from their home or office without travelling to Doylestown or relying on the mail or courier services.
The program is limited, but is slated to become more comprehensive. Filings which initiate a case will still be started using traditional means. Inheritance tax returns, which are ultimately reviewed by the PA Department of Revenue will also still be filed using paper. All other filings will be eligible for electronic filings.
According to Register of Wills, Don Petrille, the office plans to expand electronic filing to all filings in the near future. “This is a great first step. Once we are satisfied the public is being well served, we will allow our customers to start their cases online. We want to move deliberately, working with members of the bar and the courts to ensure efficiency,” stated Petrille.
Petrille, who also serves as Clerk of the Orphans’ Court said that Orphans’ Court filings will also be addressed in the future. “We are working with the Courts to create a paperless environment for processing documents. Unlike the Register of Wills, the Orphans’ Court needs to coordinate with multiple offices with different missions, the judges’ chambers, court administration and scheduling, in addition to our own staff. We do not want to initiate electronic Orphans’ Court filing only to print out documents at public expense. We are in the process of getting all personnel comfortable with the handling of electronic documents.”
Electronic filing is the latest of a series of initiatives concerning the overall automation of the office Petrille has spearheaded during his time in office. In 2013, the office launched online records searches, and this past September, the office introduced online marriage licenses. Earlier this spring the office eliminated paper transmissions of estate data to the PA Department of Revenue.
“We are very proud that we are reducing expenses to both state and county government by being a leader statewide in records automation,” said Petrille. “This initiative is just the latest example, along with our online records searches and online marriage applications, of our commitment to making government more accessible to all.”
The office of Register of Wills and Clerk of the Orphans Court is responsible for admitting wills to probate, appointing administrators of intestate estates, collecting inheritance taxes on behalf of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, issuing marriage licenses and processing filings involving estate disputes, incapacitated persons and adoptions which are heard before the Orphans’ Court Division of the Court of Common Pleas. Don Petrille has served in the office since 2012.