Register of Wills
The Register of Wills new in-person hours of operations, effective December 4, 2023. The new hours are 8:00 a.m. - 3:30 p.m., until further notice. We continue to be available by phone between 8:00 a.m. - 4:00 p.m. (Closed noon - 1:00 p.m.)
The Register of Wills Office assists families and attorneys in obtaining the necessary documents to transfer the assets of a deceased person. It is the county probate office and is a branch of the Delaware Chancery Court.
The Register of Wills Office holds office hours from 4 - 7 p.m. at the Appoquinimink Library in Middletown on the first Wednesday of every month. All services during the evening hours will be by appointment only. For more information or to request an appointment, please call 302-395-7800 and specify Middletown evening hours.
An appointment is necessary to open (probate) an estate. See our contact information on the right.
An estate needs to be probated in the county where the decedent resided. The presence or absence of a valid Will after death does not determine whether an estate must be opened. Whenever there is a death in New Castle County, an estate must be probated if:
- The decedent had more than $30,000 in personal property in his/her name alone, OR
- The decedent owned Delaware real estate in his/her name alone (either solely held or as a tenant in common).
Processing for Filing and Appointments
Response time for appointments and processing of openings and closings may vary from month to month depending on the volume of filings submitted.
Small Estate Affidavits COVID -19 Modification:
If you have confirmed that a Small Estate Affidavit is required to gain access to solely owned assets, please access the FORM page ( top left) and completely fill out the Small Estate Affidavit mail-in request form.
During normal business operations: If the estate is less than $30,000 with no solely owned real estate, then it is considered a small estate. The named executor in the original, valid, self-proven will or the closest next-of-kin (if there is no will) may receive what is known as a Small Estate Affidavit in order to transfer property. (No Small Estate Affidavit will be issued after 2:30 p.m. due to the office closing at 3:00.)
Evening Office Hours in Middletown to resume on September 1, 2021.
The Register of Wills office holds office hours from 4:00- 7:00 pm at the Appoquinimink Library (off Broad Street), on the first Wednesday of every month. All services during the evening hours will be by appointment only. To request an appointment, please call (302) 395-7800 and specify Middletown Evening hours. Please note that as these additional office hours are limited to one day per month, each time slot fills up quickly. If you need information on how far ahead we are currently scheduling, please call the office. April 2018, marks 7 years that the Wills department has had evening hours in Middletown.
New Evening Office Hours at the Newark Free Libary beginning on September 8, 2021.
The Register of Wills Office has extensive archives the public can access for the purpose of tracing genealogies or to check titles on real estate. Our records date back to the 1600s for New Castle County.
Safekeeping of Wills
The Register of Wills Office of New Castle County also provides a service to hold wills for safekeeping and confidentiality while a person is alive. For a fee of $10, an original will can be deposited with our office and kept until the death of the testator (the maker of the will). This is offered as an alternative for someone who perhaps does not have a safety deposit box or has not given it to an attorney to hold until the testator's death.
Education & Outreach
If you would like to invite the Register of Wills Ciro Poppiti III to speak at a meeting or event about wills and the Register of Wills Office, please contact the main office. If you would like to be added to our general announcement email list, please email us your request.
Gifts: Effective May 5, 2016, by virtue of Office policy, gifts of any kind are no longer accepted.