Probate of Wills in Pennsylvania
A Pennsylvania probate lawyer is a person that you need to contact immediately after learning that you will serve as the personal representative or other important role in the administration of an estate.
The sooner you hire a Pennsylvania probate attorney, the easier it will be for you to answer questions and ensure that you have filed the appropriate paperwork. A will probate attorney in Pennsylvania is an advocate for you if you believe that there are challenges in your case or if you need further advice about how to officially probate a will.
In general, the probate process in the state of Pennsylvania is fairly simple and many of the steps can be avoided by consent of the executor and the beneficiaries. The executor is the person officially responsible for settling the deceased person's estate and ensuring that the terms carried out in his or her administration are properly managed. A trustee might also be working on some assets.
Each Pennsylvania county maintains their own register of wills which is responsible for determining whether or not a will is valid. Furthermore, this agency hears any disputes from people who may wish to contest the will. At that point, probate is then handed over to the Orphan's Court.
When the case is finally closed out and the distribution of all assets has occurred, the Orphan's Court will close out the estate. The beginning stages of probating a will in the state of Pennsylvania involve taking the original will and a certified copy of the death certificate to the register of wills in the county in which the testator or the person who created the will lived. At that point in time, several forms will be given to the estate administrator to fill out. These could include an estate information sheet and a petition for grant of letters.
The register will also provide that person with an oath of office of executor if he or she is approved to serve in that role and the necessary documentation to allow the executor to act and make transactions on behalf of the testator's estate. The estate's value will also be taken into consideration for determining the probate tax. The next step involved in probating a will in the state of Pennsylvania is getting organized.
All necessary documentation needs to be gathered surrounding the testator's financial affairs, such as account statements, tax returns, deeds, credit card statements, mortgages, automobile loans, and automobile titles. This will give the executor a clear idea on what he or she is dealing with.
The third step in probating a will in Pennsylvania is valuing the testator's assets after they have been analyzed and included in an inventory. certain assets may not need to go through probate process and these are anything that pass directly to a beneficiary when the testator passed away, such as real estate in which the deed is held with someone else having the rights of survivorship, retirement accounts with named beneficiaries, and insurance policies. The immediate family should be provided with a copy of the death certificate and a receipt for funeral and burial costs. The estate executor must also be prepared to publish a notice in the local newspaper advertising that the testator's creditors be aware that the estate has moved into probate.
There is a limited amount of time in which these individuals are eligible to make a claim against the estate for payment and no other action can be taken at such time until this period expires. After this has been completed, the necessary taxes associated with the estate need to be paid. Pennsylvania will levy an inheritance tax which needs to be paid no later than nine months after the death of the testator and federal estate taxes might also be due depending on the individual size of the estate. The individual tax returns for the testator need to be filed for his or her last year of life. Given that this process can be extremely overwhelming, it's important to retain the services of an experienced attorney to help.