Information Sheet

Superior Court of the District of Columbia, Office of the Register of Wills Probate Division

OPENING A PROBATE PROCEEDING

A proceeding to probate a decedent’s estate * is commenced by the filing of a petition and related papers with the Probate Division of the Superior Court of the District of Columbia. The Register of Wills recommends that non-lawyers obtain the assistance of a lawyer before initiating these proceedings. Employees of the Court and employees of the Daily Washington Law Reporter Co. are not authorized to provide legal advice or assistance in preparing the required forms. Employees of the Court review petitions only to ensure completion and procedural compliance with applicable laws and court rules. Petitioners are responsible for the accuracy of the information included on the Petition for Probate.

The Petition for Probate must be typed on forms prescribed by the Register of Wills or on computer generated forms which are substantially similar thereto. These forms are available for purchase ($35.00 for either the 600, 800 or 900 series packets) from:

The Daily Washington Law Reporter Co.

100 E. Pratt Street, Suite 2520
Baltimore, MD 21202
Phone 410.244.6688

These forms can be purchased by mailing in a check or charging by credit card over the phone. Forms are mailed out the day payment is received.

There are no pre-printed forms for estates of persons dying before January 1, 1981.

Probate proceedings are governed by Title 20 of the 1981 edition of the District of Columbia Code (Volume 5) and supplements thereto, and the Superior Court Probate Division Rules. Estates of persons dying prior to January 1, 1981 are governed by prior editions of the Code. The Code and the Rules are available at some public libraries or can be purchased from:

Michie Publishing Company
P.O. Box 7587
Charlottesville, VA 22906
804.972.7600

West Group
P.O. Box 64833
St. Paul, MN 55164
800.937.8529

* This information does not apply to Small Estates, valued at $40,000 or less. Separate information and forms to open a Small Estate are available in the Probate Division or on the Superior Court’s website.