What are the steps in the probate process in Pennsylvania?

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When someone passes away, it can be an overwhelming time. Not only are you trying to juggle grieving the loss of your loved one with your other responsibilities, but you may also be responsible for probating the will. Unfortunately, many are unsure how to navigate this process or the steps of probate. If this reflects your circumstances, you’ll want to keep reading to learn what you should know about this process. You’ll also discover how Montgomery County, PA probate attorneys can help you navigate this complex legal matter.

What is probate?

When someone passes away, their estate will be distributed according to the terms of their will or the state, depending on whether or not they had a will. Either way, this process of distributing assets is known as “probate.” This is necessary as the courts must oversee the distribution of assets to ensure everything is legally binding and that the deceased’s wishes are met.

This process can seem complex and intimidating, as there are many steps involved. However, familiarizing yourself with how this process works can help you better prepare to probate a will.

What are the steps for the probate process?

Generally, the first step of probate is to file the deceased’s will with the courts. The named executor in the will is responsible for this step. Once the will is filed, the courts will ensure the will is legally valid and authentic. Once this is completed, they will task the executor with notifying the beneficiaries of the estate that they are named. Additionally, any creditors must be notified, as they have one year to file a claim against the estate in Pennsylvania to receive any debts they are owed.

Once all notices have been sent, the executor is responsible for inventorying all assets in the estate. As they gather assets, they may need to liquidate specific property to pay off creditors or taxes.

In some instances, a beneficiary may file a suit against a will to challenge the distribution of the assets. If this is the case, it’s important to note that these disputes must be handled before the probate process can end.

Once everything is paid off, the beneficiaries can receive the assets they are entitled to to create a financial accounting for the courts. After the distribution of assets, Pennsylvania will consider the estate officially closed.

What should I do if I need assistance?

Probate is a very document-heavy process with strict deadlines. Unfortunately, failure to complete these documents correctly or file them on time can create additional stress and problems. As such, it’s in your best interest to enlist the assistance of an experienced attorney to help guide you through probate.

When you lose a loved one, you have enough to worry about without fretting over the legal complexities of probate. At Friedman Schuman, our team can take the lead to guide you through this process. Our team will handle the legal issues you may face so you can focus on remembering and celebrating the life of your loved one. Contact us today to learn how we can assist you.

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