The Orphans’ Court handles all matters involving estates and wills as the probate court in Maryland, and also some guardianships of minors.
The Orphans’ Court derives its name from pre-colonial England, carried over by Lord Baltimore from the City of London’s Court for Widows and Orphans. In 1777, the Maryland General Assembly formally established an Orphans’ Court and Register of Wills in each county and the City of Baltimore. That structure still operates today.
The three judges of the Orphans’ Court for Prince George’s County must be attorneys, licensed to practice law in the State of Maryland. Judges of the Orphans’ Court are elected every four years by the citizens of this county, with the judge of longest tenure serving as Chief Judge.
The Register of Wills serves as the clerk for the Orphans’ Court, and is also elected every four years by the citizens of the county in which the Register serves.