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Orphans' Court Division


The Revised Manual for Guardians of Incapacitated Persons is available containing information on Guardian Fiduciary Duties and the Guardianship Tracking System (GTS), as well as the new fillable forms for Inventory, Annual Reports, Consent of Guardian, Guardian Address Confirmation, and Notice of Filing. Click Here

The Orphans' Court Division is one of the three divisions of the Court of Common Pleas, and serves to protect the personal and property rights of all persons and entities who are otherwise incapable of managing their own affairs. The name "Orphans" in the name of the Court is derived from the general definition of "orphan" as one lacking protection, not the common association of a child deprived by the death of his or her parents. It is the Court's mission to insure that the best interests of those persons and entities, who are "orphans" in the general sense of the word, are not compromised.

Currently assigned to the Orphans' Court Division are Administrative Judge Matthew D. Carrafiello, Judge John W. Herron, Judge George W. Overton, and Judge Sheila Woods-Skipper.

The Court's jurisdiction extends to minors, incapacitated persons, decedents, trusts, principals and agents under powers of attorney, non-profit charitable organizations, cemetery companies, and marriage licenses. The Court appoints guardians for minors and incapacitated persons to handle their financial affairs and/or their health and safety needs. The actions and accounts of fiduciaries, including guardians, agents under powers of attorney, executors, administrators, and trustees are examined and audited. The Court hears disputes involving inheritance and estate tax and marital license issues. Questions regarding the administration and distribution of the decedents', minors' and incapacitated persons' estates, testamentary and inter vivos trusts, special needs trusts, non-profit corporations organized for charitable purposes, as well as Appeals from the Register of Wills are adjudicated and resolved. Settlements of actions involving minors, incapacitated persons, decedent's estates and wrongful death and survival beneficiaries are reviewed. Authorizations to act as an approved corporate fiduciary are issued by the Court.

Resources available on the Orphans' Court's website include: a Guardian's Manual, the current year's Audit List Calendar, the list of currently approved Corporate Fiduciaries, a manual and tutorial to the electronic filing system, the Orphans' Court Rules for the Supreme Court of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia County Orphans' Court Rules, Links to commonly used Forms and the Philadelphia Estate Practitioner Handbook as well as access to the Online Docket System and the Electronic Filing System.

Orphans Court Administration Location and Phone Directory
Orphans' Court History
Judicial History of The Orphans' Division

Clerk of Orphans' Court

The Register of Wills of Philadelphia County is the ex officio Clerk of the Orphans' Court which maintains and certifies Orphans' Court records, issues citations, marriage licenses and other process.

Contact information, Location, Phone Numbers

Orphans' Court Links:

The following materials on incapacity proceedings were made available to the bar as part of a CLE Course. They are intended for informational use only and should not be considered official court or court endorsed forms.


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