What is Probate?

Many people choose to create an estate plan throughout their lives. Doing so allows them to plan for what will happen to their assets at the end of their life. Once the individual passes and the estate must be administered, there is a process that needs to be followed. One of the first steps is for the will within the estate plan to go through probate. 

Probate is a process that determines whether or not a will is a valid document. In addition to this, it establishes the value of the deceased’s assets. With this, the court is able to tell if there are any outstanding debts or taxes that need to be paid off. If you are in charge of handling an estate plan, it can be beneficial to enlist an experienced attorney for assistance.

Filing a Will to Probate

When a person creates an estate plan, they may designate another individual to carry out the desires of their estate plan. This individual is known as an executor. In order to begin the process of administering an estate, the executor must first file the deceased’s will in the Surrogate Court where they lived. During this time, they must provide the court with a death certificate, a probate petition, and any other documents that may be necessary. Once this is done, any beneficiaries to the estate will receive information on where the probate takes place. 

Throughout the probate process, the court determines whether or not the deceased’s will is valid. In order to be valid, the will must have gone through the correct legal steps to be authentic. In the state of Pennsylvania, the individual writing the document must sign it in front of witnesses. This requires them to be of sound mind and not be coerced into doing so. If these steps are not met, the will may not pass probate. If it does and the Surrogate Court finds the will to be valid, the executor may begin the administration process. 

Closing an Estate

Once a will passes the process of probate, the executor can begin to carry out the rest of their responsibilities. This can include paying off debts or taxes, resolve and contests to the will, and distribute the assets to their rightful beneficiaries. Once these tasks are completed and the court believes the executor’s job is done, the administration process can end and the estate will be closed. 

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Friedman Schuman is an experienced and dedicated legal resource for clients throughout Pennsylvania. We proudly serve clients facing a wide range of legal matters. If you require the services of an effective attorney, pleasecontact Friedman Schuman today to schedule a consultation.