Thursday, December 10, 2009

Filing Fees Increase in PA

On Tuesday, December 8, 2009, various court-related filing fees increased in Pennsylvania, pursuant to Act 46 of 2009 (formerly House Bill 1607), signed into law by the Governor on October 9, 2009.

In his newsletter, Good Deeds, dated October 29, 2009, Ryan Costello, Esq., the Recorder of Deeds of Chester County, PA, noted the fee increases applicable to his row office:

On October 9, 2009, Governor Rendell signed House Bill 1607 amending Title 42 (Judiciary and Judicial Procedure) of the Pennsylvania Consolidated Statutes.

This bill, in part, mandates an additional $13.50 fee be charged and collected statewide by Recorders of Deeds. These funds will be deposited into the State’s Judicial Computer System Augmentation Account, the Access to Justice Account, and the Criminal Justice Enhancement Account. The monies are specifically designated to fund Constable training and full-time County district attorney salaries.

This $13.50 increase will be collected on documents recorded as deeds, mortgages, mortgage satisfactions, mortgage assignments and releases, and easements. * * *
Websites of Recorders of Deeds statewide now announce the increased filing fees, such as those for Butler County, PA., Lackawanna County, PA, Allegheny County, PA, Dauphin County, PA, and Beaver County, PA, for example.

The fee increases also affect filings made on or after December 8, 2009, in the Registers of Wills Offices in Pennsylvania. The effect was noted by
Paula Gowen, the Register of Wills and Clerk of the Orphans' Court in Chester County, PA:
This Act adds additional fees of $13.50 to the current fee of $10.00, for a total of $23.50 for the FIRST filing of Petitions in the Register of Wills and Clerk of Orphans’ Court.

Among the actions that are impacted by this increase in state fees are Petitions for Grant of Letters, Small Estate Petitions, Initial Petitions for Adoptions and Terminations and Guardianships of Minors and Incapacitated [Persons].

Please note that NO PART of this $23.50 fee is allocated to or appropriated by the Register of Wills or Clerk of the Orphans’ Court. The entire amount collected is remitted to the Commonwealth by this office on a monthly basis.
Similar announcements as to the filing fee increases affecting Registers of Wills statewide were posted on their websites, such as those for Susquehanna County, PA, Blair County, PA, and Centre County, PA.

The Supreme Court of Pennsylvania posted online its Financial Regulations, which were published in the
Pennsylvania Bulletin on November 14, 2009. Those Regulations set forth all the actions and entities affected by the boosts in fees collected for the Commonwealth.

In that long list of filings subject to new surcharge fees, those relating to the
Court of Common Pleas. Orphans' Court Clerk, Register of Wills, are specified as follows:
Except for the provisions of subsection (g) below, for purposes of 42 Pa.C.S. §§ 3733(a.1) and 3733.1, a statutory fee of twelve dollars and twenty-five cents ($12.25) shall be imposed on all petitions for grant of letters, and first filings in petitions concerning adoptions, incompetents' estates, minors' estates, and inter vivos trusts.
Thus, litigants and other users of the Pennsylvania legal system must now bear a boost in filing fees statewide.