Register & Recorder

Marianne Hileman,
Register/Recorder/Clerk of Orphans' Court of Armstrong County, Pennsylvania
 
1st Deputy:   Sandra Romanowski
2nd Deputy:  Lori Hirst
 
Armstrong County Courthouse
500 E. Market Street
Suite 102
Kittanning, PA  16201
(724) 548-3220
FAX:  (724) 548-3236     
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SOLICITOR:  James A. Favero, Attorney at law
(724) 545-7711
 
This office consists of three individual offices: The Recorder of Deeds, Register of Wills and the Orphans' Court.
 
Seal of Armstrong County 
Due to the Covid19, we are doing marriage licenses, abstractors and estates by appointment.   Please call to schedule an appointment.
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 3:45 p.m.
 
Research                                              8:00 a.m. through 4:15 p.m.
 

WE E-RECORD !!!  Our current vendors are Simplifile, CSC Recording and ePN.

 

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 Powers of Attorney which deal with real estate.
 
The staff is available to assist individuals in computer use of  locating documents.  Employees are not permitted to provide searches nor legal interpretation and 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.  We cannot search by tax map number nor street address.   If you do not have the tax map number nor the book and page, you may wish to visit the Mapping Department first.   As an individual, you will be able to get copies of recorded documents at $.50 a page (including Plan of Lots), but a large copy (11 x 17) of any Plan of Lots is $3.00 a page.
 
These records can also be found at www.Landex.com.  Landex remote is good for frequent searching and Landex webstore is on a pay-per-document basis for the infrequent searcher.  There is a fee imposed by Landex for these services.
 
The Depreciation Land Program was created for the benefit of the soldiers, sailors and prisoners of war who served in the American Revolution.  These men had been paid in Continental money, which has seriously depreciated which is why this is the name of the program.  According to the Depreciation Lands Museum, there was approximately 720,000 acres of land set aside by Pennsylvania in 1783.
 
There are two framed historical prints of the Depreciation Lands from the Pennsylvania State Archives hanging in the office.
 
Recording requirements :  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)
   • Deeds and Mortgages Legal should include description including Municipality and County and State
   • Tax Map Number (NOT parcel 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, and name exactly as person signed, as individual or, corporation with officer's title, notary signature, readable  notary stamp and expiration date.  Must be dated on or after the execution date of the document.  The notorial seal must be legible and not overlapping.  
   • 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.  Statements of Value must be filed in            duplicate
   • 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 of multiple municipalities for        local transfer tax.
   • Appropriate size - stamped, self addressed envelopes for the return of documents. 
   • There will be no refunds issued.  Please be sure amounts are accurate.
   • No documents containing shaded areas will be recorded.

TRANSFER TAX:  One percent (1%) transfer tax is for local/school tax and one for the State.  These check are to be by separate separate checks.   The filing fee must be a separate check.  All three checks are to be made to the Recorder of Deeds.

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.  this is a specific State form that is used either to set the value of the property being conveyed or to give the reason for exemption.  It must be presented in duplicate and one copy is forwarded to the Department of Revenue by us.  Any time the transfer tax is not paid or anytime the true value of the land is not shown on the deed (such as $1.00 consideration), a statement of value is necessary.  If submitting a trust, the copy will not be retained in this office, it will be forwarded to the State.

Additional transfer tax:  When the state investigator determines the property being sold is worth more that stated or if the reason for exemption is not valid, additional transfer tax may be assessed.  A "determination" is sent directly to you by the State Department of Revenue.  The additional State Tax and interest are paid to them.  They issue a receipt to our office to be recorded showing the taxes that were due and paid.  

 Record Alert System:  The Armstrong County Recorder of Deeds office is now offering the new ARMSTRONG COUNTY RECORD ALERT SYSTEM to all residents of Armstrong County.  The record alert system will be free to anyone who would like to sign-up for the service.

If you sign-up, you will receive an email from our recording vendor, Landex, alerting you anytime a document has been recorded in our office with your name.  Businesses are also welcome to sign-up for this service.  Marianne hopes this free service will go a long way in helping residents to not fall prey to predatory businesses that want you to purchase a costly service that monitors our property records.  There is no need to pay an outside group a high monthly fee to do this for you.  Especially, when our office can help you do it for free.

 

Sign up now!!

https://www.landex.com/recordalert/armstrong

Fees: Recorder of Deed Fees.
 
Common Level Ratio:   July 2021 through June 30, 2022 is 2.54 for Armstrong County.
 
Military Discharges:  The Recorder of Deeds Office records Military Discharge records.  There is no fee for filing your Military Discharge papers.  No one but the veteran, his family, or a veteran organization official is permitted to look at these records.  Certified copies are made upon request at no charge.
 
REGISTER OF WILLS is the county office where a decedent's estate paperwork is processed.  When a person passes away, the Register of Wills appoints a personal representative to administer the estate.  If the decedent has a Will, the person(s) named in the Will should come to the Register's Office to probate.  If the decedent did not have a Will, the next-of-kin should come to the Register's Office to Probate.  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 (Estate Checklist) can be provided to individuals not seeking legal counsel.  Professionals are recommended.
 

Do you have my Will on file?  No.  Living persons do NOT have wills on file at the Register of Wills office.  Original Wills are usually kept secure by the attorney who prepared them or a safe deposit box belonging to the Testator.

If I am named in the Will as an Executor, what do I need to do?  Being names does not confer any authority until the will is probated.  This authority is granted by the Register of Wills in a document called Letters.

How do I get a Short Certificate?  Because a short certificate is our certification that an estate proceeding is on record in our office, we can only issue them after the probate.  You may purchase as many short certificates as necessary from the Register's Office at any time AFTER the formal opening of an estate or probate of a will.

IF WE DO NOT HAVE AN ESTATE, WE CANNOT ISSUE A SHORT CERTIFICATE - REGARDLESS OF WHAT THE BANKS, POST OFFICE OR OTHERS HAVE TOLD YOU.

What documents and person are required to Probate a Will:

  • a typed petition for probate and grant of letters
  • an original will, codicil
  • an original death certificate
  • person appearance of executor(s)
  • witness to will (not necessary if will is self-proven) OR notarized Affidavit of Subscribing Witness(es)
  • Certified English translation if will is written in a foreign language
  • Type, conformed copy of an handwritten will
  • Two checks- one to cover probate (fees based on value of estate) & one to the Armstrong County Legal Journal for advertising.  You will be responsible for newspaper.
  • Cash or check only for payment of fees.

Will you help me to probate/administer this estate?  No.  It is the duty and obligation of the person representative (executor or administrator) to know what must be done, when it must be done and how it must be done.  If you have no knowledge of the legal administration process for estates and/or the fiduciary laws of Pennsylvania, you should seek the help of legal counsel.  The Register of Wills and staff are not licensed to give legal advice.  Professions could actually save time and money in the long run due to their knowledge and experience.

 
Fees: Register of Will fees
 
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 (children, parents, siblings)
   • 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 (412) 465-3513.
 
Armstrong County does not require separate Inventory forms to be filed, but we do accept them - no fee.   Inheritance tax returns are to be filed in duplicate unless there is real estate involved, then three copies will be required.  Inheritance taxes can be paid within the first three months at a 5% discount.  Inheritance Tax Returns are due nine months from the date of death before penalty interest begins.  Please check with office to see if any additional probate fees are due and to be paid prior to the filing of the Inheritance Tax Return.
 
Most forms for Register of Wills can be located on-line at pacourts.us/form/for-the-public/orphans-court-forms.
 
GENEOLOGY:     Birth and Death Records are available from 1893 through 1905 (Also on Landex.com) under the index tab at bottom of page.  After 1905, those records may be obtained through Pennsylvania Vital Records.  Division of Vital Records, 105 Nesbitt Road, New Castle, Pennsylvania 16105 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 .  
 
Information/documents are on microfilm from 1805 through 1947 and on the computer from 1947 through present.  The office is constantly scanning files.  Our goal is to get all of the estates on line in the near future.
 
Also, the local Armstrong County Historical Museum and Genealogical Society, Inc. may be able to assist you.   Their number is (724) 548-5707
 
Marriage records are from October 1885 to present.
 
Armstrong County Rules of Court can be found at www.accourts.com
 
CLERK OF ORPHANS’ COURT:  
 
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 IN Armstrong County from 8:00 a.m. through 3:00 p.m.   During COVID, we are processing them by appointments.  Please call in to schedule.  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 if a marriage ended in death  

•Know your parents birthplaces and occupations.
•There is a three day waiting period, including the day of application.   The license is then good for a period of sixty (60) days.

Marriage licenses shall be picked up on the third day after applying.  Please note:  if you are getting married on Saturday, you will want to apply no later than the Wednesday before, so that you can pick it up on Friday.  They can picked up any time before the wedding - not necessarily on the third day.   Only one party is necessary and may not necessarily be the applicants.

If either applicant had a legal name change:

   1.  Bring name change Decree

    2.  Including permission to resume maiden name after Divorce.

Does not speak English,

    1. you must bring your own interpreter

    2.  Bring interpreter's government issued Photo ID

Has a foreign document, you must bring:

    1.  the original document

     2.  an English translation with an affidavit of accuracy and notarized signature

WAIVER OF WAITING PERIOD:  In cases of an emergency or where extraordinary circumstances exist, the Judge of the Orphans' Court Division, upon petition on a form sup0plied the the Clerk, may grant a waiver of the three-day waiting period.  Emergencies are typically grave illnesses or a military applicant on active duty preparing for deployment in less than three days.

Officiants.  The Armstrong County does not determine who is recognized as an officiant to solemnize a marriage.  We also will not recommend an officiant.  The PA Marriage Law, Title 23 PA C.S. Subsection 1503 states who is qualified to officiate a marriage ceremony in Pennsylvania.  It is the couples responsibility to arrange a ceremony and ensure the validity of the officiant.  We will not confirm or deny a particular person's qualification to officiate your ceremony.  

Self-uniting.  Our office will issue a Self-uniting marriage license as provided by the Marriage Law, 23 Pa C.S. Subsection 1502.  Please inform the clerk when you start your application if you wish to use this type of license so that we may use the correct form.

Marriage Certificate:  If you need proof of marriage, a Marriage Duplicate may be requested in person at our office or through the mail.  The charge is $7.50 per duplicate.  Please have both names as applied, and the date of marriage.  If mailing a request, please make checks or money orders payable to Clerk of Orphans' Court and include a self-addressed envelope for return use.

ORPHANS' COURT FILINGS:  As well as marriage licenses, the Orphans' Court handles a variety of legal documents, such as petitions for adoption, petitions for guardianships and estate, or accounting.  We also accept documents that do not require Court action like a Power of Attorney and a claim against an estate.

File access to Guardianships and Adoptions:  Due to the sensitive nature of the information, these records have been sealed and impounded by the Court.  Only an attorney of record, the guardian or the person themselves may have access to the file.   Anyone else requesting access must  submit a request for access.

ALL DOCUMENTS SUBMITTED FOR THE COURT MUST INCLUDE THE COVER SHEETS AS PROVIDED IN THE ARMSTRONG COUNTY RULES OR WILL BE REJECTED BY THE ORPHANS' COURT OFFICE.

Fees:    
          • Confirmation of Accounts 2021
 
Most Current CHANGES TO ORPHANS’ COURT forms can be found at:  www.pacourts.us/public-records/public-records-forms
 
    • Clerical error correction form
    • Certificate of Compliance
    • Confidential Document Form
    • Confidential Information form
    • Explanatory Report
    • Handouts
    • Notices
    • Public Access Policy - Unified Judicial System of PA - Amended 1/2022
    • Written Request for Access to Case Records
    • abuse victim addendum for confidential information
    • limits on public access to Unified Judicial System case records.
 
 Guardianship forms may be located at pacourts.us/forms/for-the-public/orphans-court-forms.
 
    • Helpline for Guardianship Tracking System (877) 227-2672
    
To view Armstrong County Rules of  Court:  www.accourts.com