Probate is the legal process that occurs after an individual’s death. An individual’s estate can go through the probate process if he or she dies with or without a valid Will. If the decedent dies with a Will, the estate can pass through probate and assets can be distributed according to the terms outlined in the Will. Conversely, if a decedent dies without a Will in Pennsylvania, statutory law will dictate how the decedent’s assets can be distributed. While the amount or types of assets the decedent owns can determine if the probate process is necessary, it is important to consult with our experienced probate attorneys. The attorneys at Friedman Schuman have over 40 years of experience providing clients with assistance in the probate process. If you require legal guidance when handling a probate matter, contact Friedman Schuman today to schedule a consultation.
The probate process in Pennsylvania
When the probate process begins, the court appoints an individual to handle the administration of the estate. If there is a Will, the executor named in the will is usually appointed. If there is no Will, the court can appoint a next of kin or another personal representative to handle the administration of the decedent’s estate.
Is probate required for all estates?
The number of assets in a decedent’s estate can dictate if the probate process is required prior to the distribution of assets to the rightful beneficiaries. Some assets that can go to a surviving spouse and/or child without probate can include:
- Up to $10,000.00 in a bank account
- Up to $5,000.00 in wages paid by an employer to the employee’s surviving spouse or dependents
- Life insurance benefits up to $11,000.00
What are the responsibilities of an executor or personal representative?
The executor or administrator distributes and closes the decedent’s estate, he or she can be responsible for the following tasks:
- Assemble all of the decedent’s assets and take an inventory.
- Pay all of the estate debts in the proper order of priority.
- Distribute the assets. If the decedent died with a will, the executor can distribute the assets to the beneficiaries as indicated within the will. If the decedent died without a will, the assets must be distributed in accordance with statutory law.
Contact our PA probate attorneys
Friedman Schuman provides legal services to clients in Pennsylvania for all of their Estate Administration and Estate Planning needs. Estate administration can be very complex, time-consuming, and document-heavy. The probate process deserves the attention of a knowledgeable legal team, as it can quickly become complicated. Friedman Schuman has over 40 years of experience guiding clients towards closure after the passing of a loved one. Contact the attorneys at Friedman Schuman today to discuss your legal needs.