Recorder of Deeds
Register of Wills
Clerk of Orphans' Court
500 E. Market Street, Suite 102
Kittanning, PA 16201
FAX: (724) 548-3236
SOLICITOR: James A. Favero, Attorney at law
This office consists of three individual offices: The Recorder of Deeds, Register of Wills and the Orphans Court.
Office Hours are as follows:
Marriage Licenses 8:00 a.m. through 3:00 p.m.
Over the Counter Transactions 8:00 a.m. through 4:00 p.m.
Research 8:00 a.m. through 4:30 p.m.
It is the responsibility of the RECORDER OF DEEDS to record and maintain accurate and complete records related to real estate transactions while protecting them from loss, theft or damage. Documents include land related documents, Veteran’s Discharges, Notary Bonds and Commissions and Power of Attorney.
The staff is available to assist individuals in computer use of locating documents. Employees are not permitted to provide searches nor legal interpretation nor advice. With the current system, a search can be done using the first and last name of the individual or by using a book and page. As a citizen, you will be able to get copies of publically recorded documents at $.50 a page, but Plan of Lots are $3.00 a page.
Real Estate records are available in the office and date back to 1805; however, some items are not available on line (Power of Attorney books, ordinance books, assignment books, and receipt and release books). Real Estate Records can be found at www.Landex.com. Landex remote is good for title searches and Landex webstore is designed more for public use. There is a fee imposed by Landex for this service.
Recording information: each document is checked for certain criteria. Those items include but are not limited to the following:
- Date of document (must be on or before acknowledgment date)
- Legal description including Muncipality
- Tax Map Number of property. If you do not have one, you may obtain same by contacting our Mapping Department at (724) 548-3234.
- Acknowledgment must include the county, state, name exactly as person signed, notary signature, notary stamp and expiration date. Must be dated on or after the execution date of the document.
- Certificate of Residence. Must be completed and signed.
- Multiple documents constituting one transaction must clearly indicate on each document the order of recording. Any re-recording expenses from improper order of recording will be paid by party submitting the documents.
- Corrective documents must include reference to document being corrected and Reason for correction. Any corrective deed must also include a Statement Of Value and a recorded copy of the document being corrected.
- Re-recording of documents must have a new acknowledgment and an explanation as to why they are being re-recorded.
- Multi-locality deeds MUST state the percentages of divisions for local transfer tax.
- Appropriate size - stamped, self addressed envelopes for the return of documents.
- There is a $5.00 rejection for all documents not meeting the above criteria.
- There will be no refunds issued. Please be sure amounts are accurate.
Statements of Value are necessary whenever (1) the full value/consideration is not set forth in the deed (2) when the deed is without consideration or by gift, or (3) a tax exemption is claimed. A Statement of Value is not required if the transfer is wholly exempt from tax based on family relationship (must be stated on the deed) or public utility easement. Statements of Value must also be submitted for Rights of Way and Easements. These forms must be completed in its entirety and submitted in duplicate with a reason for and amount of exemption. One copy of the Statement of Value will be forwarded to the State by our office. If submitting a trust, the copy will not be retained in this office, it will be forwarded to the State as well.
Common Level Ratio: July 2012 through June 30, 2013 is 2.40 for Armstrong County.
Transfer Tax: One percent is for local/school tax and one percent is for State. These amounts must be presented in separate checks. Filing fee must also be a separate check.
Military Discharges are not available to the public.
REGISTER OF WILLS is the repository and record manager relating to wills and the probate thereof. WILLS for living persons are not kept on file. A Short Certificate cannot be provided unless and until an estate has been formally opened for Probate.
To Probate a Will: a Petition for Probate and Grant of Letters must be completed including the signature and information of the Attorney of Record and submitted along with:
- an original will and/or codicil;
- an original death certificate,
- the personal appearance of the executor/administrator, witnesses to will (not necessary if will is self-proving) OR notarized Affidavit of subscribing witness
- renunciations, if necessary, must be notarized if done outside of office.
- Bonds will be required for out of state representatives if not specifically stated in will.
- and two checks – first one for the probate fees (calculated at time of probate and balance due at time of filing of Rev 1500) payable to Armstrong County Register of Wills; and a check in the sum of $40.00 to the Armstrong County Legal Journal.
Wills may only be probated in the county where the decedent was legally domiciled at the time of death. The staff is not licensed to assist in completing the forms nor giving advice. A complete checklist can be provided to individuals representing estates. Professionals could actually save time and money in the long run due to their knowledge and experience.
If there was NO WILL, the process is basically the same but Letters of Administration would be issued. The administrator is appointed pursuant to the Intestate Succession laws.
The Register of Wills, if necessary, conducts hearings to determine who should be appointed as Executor or administrator of an estate. Some issues brought to a hearing involve issues like forgery, mental capacity and undue influence. If there is a question as to the appointment of a representative of the estate, the Register of Wills may act in a quasi-judicial capacity and conduct a hearing, take testimony and render a decision on disputed cases prior to opening an estate.
The Register of Wills is also agent for the collection of inheritance tax. In Pennsylvania an inheritance tax is imposed upon all assets that transfer upon death. Tax rate is as follows:
0% on transfers to spouses and charities
4.5% on transfers to “lineal” descendants
12% on transfers to siblings
15% on transfers to any other person
A discount of 5% of tax due is allowed for whatever portion of the tax is paid within three months of the decedent’s death. The staff is not permitted to calculate the figures. All inheritance tax payments are to be made payable to Register of Wills, Agent. Any additional or specific questions can be directed to the Pennsylvania Department of Revenue, Greensburg Office, at (724) 832-5462.
Armstrong County does not require separate Inventory forms to be filed. Inheritance tax returns are required to be filed in duplicate unless there is real estate involved, then three copies will be required. Inheritance Tax Returns are due nine months from the date of death. Please check with office to see if any additional probate fees are due.
GENEOLOGY: Birth and Death Records are available from 1893 through 1905. After 1905, those records may be obtained through Pennsylvania Vital Records. Division of Vital Records, 101 S. Mercer Street, Room 401, New Castle, Pennsylvania 16101 or Telephone Number is (724) 656-3100. Forms for application of Birth or Death records after 1905 may be obtained from the Register of Wills Office or on-line at www.health.state.pa.us/vitalrecords .
Marriage records are from October 1885 to present.
CLERK OF ORPHANS’ COURT is responsible for the accuracy and complete maintenance of case files for accounts (estate, trust and guardian) adoptions, appeals, claims against estates, guardianships, minors’ estates, small estate proceedings, trusts, wrongful death actions as well as other miscellaneous filings.
Anyone wishing to marry in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, must make application for a Pennsylvania license through any Pennsylvania county. Marriage applications are taken daily from 8:00 a.m. through 3:00 p.m. Please allow time for application process. Requirements are as follows:
- Parties must be at least 18 years of age.
- Both parties must appear in person together.
- Valid Photo ID
- Know their Social Security Numbers – no card is necessary.
- $66.00 CASH fee
- Certified divorce decrees for ALL marriages
- Original death certificate
- There is a three day waiting period, including the day of application. The license is then good for a period of sixty days.
Marriage duplicates (a certified copy of the marriage license) may be obtained from the county where you applied. Armstrong County charges $7.50 for this document. These may be necessary for social security names changes as well as driver’s licenses.