Seals of the Court of Appeals and Superior Court
District of Columbia Courts

Probate division

Probate is a legal process that takes place after someone's death. It usually involves proving that the deceased's will is valid, identifying the deceased person's property and having it appraised, paying outstanding debts and taxes, and distributing the property per the will or state law. The Probate division also handles the estates of incapacitated adults, estates of minors, trusts, and wills.

Large Decedents' Estates (ADM) are opened for deceased persons who, at the time of death, lived in the District of Columbia and owned real property located in the District of Columbia and/or other assets of any value.

For people who died after April 26, 2001, and had assets with a total value of $40,000.00 or less,* a small estate proceeding may be opened to appoint a personal representative, pay claims, and make distribution of estate assets.

Since the primary estate is not being opened in the District of Columbia, the estate is called a foreign estate proceeding (FEP), no personal representative is appointed in DC, and no letters of administration are issued.

The Probate Division does not accept wills before death. The will should be filed within 90 days after the death of the deceased person with a Certificate of Filing Will.

Intervention proceedings are opened for adults 18 or older who live in the District of Columbia, are incapacitated, and need assistance with health care, quality of life, or placement decisions or the handling of finances or other assets.

In its simplest form, a trust is created when property is held by one person or entity for the benefit of another or others. A variety of trust-related actions are filed in the Probate Division.

Guardianship of Minor’s Estates (GDN) are opened for children under the age of 18 who live in the District of Columbia and who are entitled to receive assets.

See cases related to Litigation, Notice of Revocable Trusts, Foreign Intervention, and Disclaimers.

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Probate Division

Presiding Judge: Hon. Gerald I. Fisher
Deputy Presiding Judge: Hon. Alfred S. Irving Jr.
Register of Wills: Anne Meister
Deputy Register of Wills: Nicole Stevens

Court Building A
515 Fifth Street, NW, Third Floor
Washington, DC 20001

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Hours of Operation

Mondays-Friday:
8:30 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.

Telephone Numbers

202-879-9460