Our Philadelphia probate attorneys at Klenk Law can assist those planning their estates, families, and executors when mapping out estate plans and managing the probate process. An executor holds a great responsibility when they take on the role of carrying out someone’s final wishes. It’s only natural that executors and beneficiaries may be curious about the probate process and its impact on the estate and, as a result, are sure to have many questions.
What is probate?
When a person passes away, the estate must pass through a process called probate. The process involves reviewing the will and ensuring that it is valid. This is a way of ensuring that the will is carried out as intended. Probate is often a feared process that many are hoping to avoid. The process can be complicated and time-consuming if proper planning has not gone into creating a will. Additionally, should family tensions arise, and some dispute the validity of the will, the process can become rife with tension, and become rather costly.
Is probate a public process?
Yes, probate is a public process, meaning records can be accessed to show the estate’s value and how the estate was divided. This is a primary reason many choose to consult with a Pennsylvania probate lawyer regarding how to ensure a more private process. One of the best ways to avoid passing the entire estate through probate is by considering a living trust. Assets can be transferred into a living trust while you are still living. Keep in mind that you will still have the ability to control these assets. Once you pass away, the living trust will not have to pass through probate and can be passed directly to the beneficiary.
What happens if a person passes away without a will?
When a person passes away without a will in place, they have died intestate. Should this occur, Pennsylvania state laws will dictate how your assets and property are distributed. The court will appoint an executor to oversee your estate, and they will be responsible for distributing assets to beneficiaries and resolving the estate.
If my loved one had a will, is probate necessary?
Our Philadelphia probate attorneys share that, yes, regardless of a will, probate is still required.
What are the responsibilities of an executor?
An executor plays an essential role in managing the process when a person has passed away. They will be responsible for: initiating the probate process, distributing property to beneficiaries, paying estate taxes and debts, managing any conflict or legal issues, and more.
How long does it take for a will to pass through probate?
When a loved one has passed away, chances are everyone will want the process to resolve as quickly as possible. However, determining how long the process will take depends on a variety of factors. In most cases, probate should take anywhere from a few months to a year. Unfortunately, when complications arise, or the validity of a will is challenged, the process may take years.
Going Through the Steps of the Probate Process
When you are the executor of someone’s estate, you may be wondering what the probate process is like and what it means to settle their estate once they have passed away. There are certain steps you will likely need to walk through and our attorneys can help you every step of the way if you are unfamiliar with the process or if you have questions. Would you like to learn more about the probate process and what it typically looks like? Reach out to us now.
Probate Process Steps
Step One. File the petition. When you want to begin the probate process, you will need to file a petition. This means you are officially taking on the role of executor and you will be supplying a will that the decedent created. During this time, a court will approve your role as the executor (unless they find a reason not to or unless someone else objects to it) and you will begin the probate process.
Step Two. Notify important parties. When you begin the probate process, you will need to start notifying people that the estate is in probate. People you should notify are heirs, beneficiaries, and creditors.
Step Three. Collect the assets. The decedent likely listed their assets in the will. Some types of assets could be:
When you inventory these assets, you will also need to have them appraised. Once this is completed, you can show them to the court.
Step Four. Take care of the bills. You will want to look at anything the decedent still owes regarding their estate or any other debts. You can work with your probate attorneys in Philadelphia to help you find any unpaid bills or debts so that you can make their accounts current.
Step Five. Distribution and closing the estate. Finally, you will want to distribute the remaining estate assets according to how the will wants you to and you can then work with the court to close the estate. Once you do this, you are finished in your role of being an executor.
We understand that it is a huge burden to take on when you have been listed as an executor of someone’s estate. However, when you have a trusted attorney by your side, you know you will not miss any small details. If you are interested in working with a member of our team, give us a call now.
Speak with Us Now
The probate process doesn’t have to be as feared as it often is. Klenk Law can help families to plan their estates and manage each step to the probate process. Don’t hesitate to get started by contacting our Philadelphia probate attorneys.
Peter provided outstanding advice and preparation of a will and trusts.
Peter was excellent. He explained everything very clearly and is super friendly. My wife and I originally tried using a lawyer through group legal coverage, but unfortunately the old adage - "you get what you pay for" - applied to the other lawyer, and we decided to go with a real professional.
When it came down to picking the right attorney to handle my affairs, I knew right away it was this firm. From speaking to their secretary to speaking to Peter I knew I was making the right decision. After only a few mins Peter knew right away what I was looking for and handled all my questions professionally and even gave me great feedback that put my mind at ease. All that without even giving a single penny! So of course I hired him! So far so good...
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Like another reviewer, I contacted Peter through his website using the free consultation link, for a question regarding PA inheritance taxes. The question was quite technical and difficult to explain, and the answer was nowhere to be found on the web. Peter grasped precisely what I was asking, and provided a clear, helpful response (with a touch of humor) the very next day.
Answered my question quickly and referred me to a colleague that could handle my problem
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Peter provided outstanding advice and preparation of a will and trusts.
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