Orphans' Court Matters
The Adams County Orphans' Court is a division of the Clerk of Courts office and can be located in Room 103 of the Adams County Courthouse.
The name "Orphans' Court" comes from a definition from the 18th century as a person lacking protection. It is used today to define a child whose parents have passed away. Orphans' Court was established to protect personal and property rights of individuals that cannot otherwise manage their own affairs. 
Orphans' Court records include administration and distribution of estate matters, adoptions, termination of parental rights, marriage applications, and incapacitated persons and minors. There are a few irregular legal issues that have found their home in the Orphans' Court. These include (but are not limited to) Petitions to Amend Birth Certificates, and Gestational Carrier petitions.
The primary function of the Clerk of Orphans' Court
The primary function of the Clerk of Orphans' Court is as filing office and custodian of the Court records.  The Clerk accepts the pleadings for cases submitted for consideration by the court as well as documents not requiring court action but compulsory to be filed in an estate matter. 
A Fee Schedule‚Äč is set to cover the costs of filing.  The filings that call for court action are sent to the Judge's Chambers for consideration.  While the permanent home of the files is with the Orphans' Court, files travel throughout the Courthouse during processing.  Ultimately, the Orphans' Court maintains these files and ensures their safety and integrity. 
The Orphans' Court staff cannot provide any legal advice. 
We have limited selection of forms available for public use.  If these forms do not include what you need, you may research your issue in the Adams County Law Library on the 3rd floor of the Adams County Courthouse, or retain a private attorney. 

Examples of Filings Requiring Court Action

  • Petitions for Adoption
  • Accountings for Audit by the Court
  • Petitions for guardians, incapacitated persons and minors
  • Minor's Compromises
  • Petitions for Settlement of Small Estate
  • Petitions for Wrongful Death and Survival Actions
Examples of Filings Not Requiring Court Action
  • Family Settlement Agreements
  • Claims against an Estate
  • Disclaimers of inheritance