Estate Administration and the Impact of COVID-19 | [Updated 4/21/2020]

Estate Administration is difficult in the best of times and these are not the best of times.  If you have recently lost a loved one and you have been named as executor of the Estate or trustee of their Trust, this is an especially difficult time.  Please read “NEW ESTATES” below for how we can help you navigate the estate administration process.  While you are unable to probate Wills or file non-emergency Orphans’ Court pleadings, we can help you to start the Estate administration process until the Registers of Wills and Orphans’ Courts reopen.  If you are administering an existing Estate, the process can continue with some limitations described below.

4/8/2020 UPDATE: The Philadelphia Register of Wills is allowing EMERGENCY PROBATE AND EMERGENCY MARRIAGE LICENSES on a limited basis. CLICK HERE TO READ MORE

NEW ESTATES

Registers of Wills in Montgomery, Bucks and Philadelphia Counties are now opening Probate Administrations during the Covid-19 Crisis on a limited basis.

  • 4/21/2020 UPDATE: The Montgomery County Register of Wills is allowing EMERGENCY PROBATE AND EMERGENCY MARRIAGE LICENSES on a limited basis. CLICK HERE TO READ MORE
  • 4/21/2020 UPDATE: The Bucks County Register of Wills has a pilot program to allow EMERGENCY PROBATE AND EMERGENCY MARRIAGE LICENSES on a limited basis. CLICK HERE TO READ MORE
  • 4/21/2020 UPDATE: The Philadelphia Register of Wills is allowing EMERGENCY PROBATE AND EMERGENCY MARRIAGE LICENSES on a limited basis. CLICK HERE TO READ MORE

Despite the limitations on opening new Probate Administrations, estate administration work can and must continue.  INHERITANCE TAX RETURNS AND PAYMENT DEADLINES HAVE NOT BEEN EXTENDED.

If you have specific questions about the administration of an Estate, call or email one of our attorneys to discuss the Estate administration process during this crisis.

NEW AND EXISTING ESTATES

While the filing deadlines for Inheritance Tax Returns and prepayments have not been extended, payments can be made and Inheritance Tax Returns can be filed by U.S. mail.  The postmark will be considered the filing date.  The Pennsylvania Department of Revenue has posted on its website that any Inheritance Tax Return filed or Inheritance Tax Payment made while the Register of Wills Office in your County was closed will be treated as having been filed or paid on March 12, 2020.  No penalties or interest will be assessed, but the Returns and Payments do have to be mailed.

For more information on filing deadlines for taxes related to Estate and Trust matters, please click this link.

OTHER REGISTER OF WILLS AND ORPHANS’ COURT FILINGS

Orphans’ Courts are accepting only emergency petitions – emergency guardianships, 302 commitments, etc.

The Register of Wills offices cannot issue marriage licenses until offices reopen as the statute requires in person appearances.  Again, they are working to modify this requirement at least temporarily.