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New Form to Petition for Grant of Letters
Effective November 11, 2011, It is ordered pursuant to Article V, Section 10 of the Constitution of Pennsylvania that form RW-02 (Petition for Probate and Grant of Letters), adopted pursuant to PA O.C. Rule 1.3, is rescinded and replaced with form RW-02 (Petition for Grant of Letters). Any rescinded form will not be accepted for probate after November 11, 2011.

Change in Save Deposit Box Inventories & Notice

Pursuant to the provisions of the Inheritance and Estate Tax Act of 1991, the Secretary of the Department of Revenue announces that, effective immediately, the department has modified the procedures under which estate representatives may enter the safe deposit box of a decedent.

Inheritance TA Return formatting Limitations to 8 1/2" x 11"
Effective April 1, 2011 any REV-1500 resident inheritance tax return submitted to the Inheritance Tax Division in a format size other than 8 1/2" x 11" will be rejected.

In the past, the department manually reduced 8 1/2" x 14" REV-1500 submissions by copying them onto 8 1/2" x 11" paper.

Staff limitations prohibit the department from dedicating resources to this manual effort any further.

The department will return submissions of any other size to the local Register of Wills office and note on their system that submissions were returned for not complying with the standard format.

From April 1, 2011, through June 30, 2011, the department will inform estate representatives when it returns forms to the local Register of Wills office. Estate representatives will be responsible for delivering to the local Register of Wills office properly formatted REV-1500 forms. After June 30, 2011, the department will cease notifying estate representatives of their errors.

If you have further questions, please call the office at (814) 355-6724.

Change in Petition for Grant of Letters
Please be advised of the following change to the PEF Code under Act 85 of 2010, effective December 26, 2010. This Act eliminates any right or share of a surviving spouse to a decedent's estate IF a divorce action is pending AND grounds have been established, but no decree has been entered. This will necessitate additional language to be added to all petitions for grant of letters as protection from any potential liability. Please see this sample PDF of a petition with the proper language. Petitioners submitting forms without this language will be required to print / type it verbatim prior to the grant of letters.

Account Advertising Fee Increase
As of January 2, 2011, due to increasing advertising costs, I find it necessary to increase the fee that is collected to advertise accounts that are filed for confirmation. The fee for an account that is currently being collected includes $45 for advertising. The new fee will be $60 making the total fee for filing an account $110 for the first page and $10 for each additional page. Please call the office if you have any questions at (814) 355-6724.

New Automation Fund Fee
Effective January 2, 2011, there will be a Computer Automation Fund fee of $10 added to each initial filing of petitions in addition to the JCS/ATJ fee of $23.50 that is already assessed.

New Option Offered By Pennsylvania Department of Revenue
Requests for an extension of time to file a Pennsylvania Inheritance Tax Return may now be made at the following email address. Please contact the department at 717-787-8327 with any questions or concerns.

New Inheritance Tax Form, Rev-1500 Must Be Used Beginning July1, 2010
Starting July 1, 2010, a revised REV-1500 Inheritance Tax Return for a resident decedent must be used to file with the Register of Wills office. The new REV-1500 is to be used for any deceased PA resident's estate, regardless of the decedent's date of death.

The updated form will be available in PDF and fill-in format on the state revenue department's website in early June. It can be distinguished from prior versions of the form by the following changes:
  • The revised form has no "Firm Name" line in the correspondent section on page 1.
  • There is no penalty lines on page 3.
  • The revised form and schedules feature no shaded areas.

Older versions of the return and schedules submitted after July1, 2010, will be rejected by the Register of Wills office and returned to taxpayers.

Tax practitioners are asked to discard prior versions of the form.

Software vendors have been advised of the changes to REV-1500, however practitioners who prepare inheritance tax returns via vendor-produced software are encouraged to contact their software vendors to ensure the form upgrades will be available by July 1, 2010.

The revisions were made to REV-1500 so that returns may be scanned and processed more effectively by the department.

Questions regarding the revised REV-1500 can be directed to the Inheritance Tax Division at 717-787-8327.

Increase in State Fees Effective December 8, 2009
On October 9, 2009 Governor Rendell signed into law House Bill 1607 which became Act 49 of 2009. This Act adds additional filing fees to the current Judicial Computer System / Access to Justice (JCS/ATJ) fees. The new fees include a 25 month temporary surcharge of $11.25 on the JCS/ATJ fee, for the period beginning December 8, 2009 to January 7, 2012. In addition to that, a new permanent fee of $2.25 has been added, which is earmarked for the Criminal Justice Enhancement Account (CJEA).

This results in a combined increase of $13.50, which will be added to the current $10 fee, bringing the total to $23.50.

The actions that are impacted by this state fee increase are ALL new filings of Petitions for Grant of Letters and FIRST filings of other Petitions in the Register of Wills and Clerk of Orphans' Court office.

Among those include first filings on Petitions for Settlement of Small Estates,

Petitions for Adoptions, Guardianship Petitions for Minors and Incapacitated Persons and Inter Vivos Trusts.

Please note that no part of this $23.50 fee is allocated to or appropriated by the Register of Wills and Clerk of Orphans' Court. The entire amount collected is remitted to the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania on a monthly basis.