When a person dies, his or her remaining estate must be administered according to the decedent’s Last Will and Testament. Probate is the legal process of accounting for the decedent’s property, settling debts, locating heirs, and distributing the remaining estate according to the terms of the Will. This process can be overwhelming, especially for families who are still mourning the loss of a loved one.
In Pennsylvania, all estates must undergo the probate process. Pennsylvania offers a simplified process for estates worth less than $25,000 excluding real estate. However, larger estates must go through full probate. The probate administrator is responsible for:
- The filing the paperwork to open a probate case with the Pennsylvania Register of Wills
- The payment of filing fees
- Testifying that the will is legal and valid
- Identification and inventory of all assets included in the estate
- Determining if any assets are non-probate assets
- Payment of any outstanding debts and taxes
- Payment of the Pennsylvania inheritance tax
- The sale of property to pay debts
- Notifying heirs of the death
- The final distribution of the remaining estate according to the terms of the will
- The preparation of a final accounting showing how the estate was distributed
A grieving family member may find it difficult to cope with the death and the probate of the estate, especially if there is litigation or a contest involved. Petrelli Law can help. Our probate attorneys can guide you through the PA probate process and handle the probate administration, saving you both time and money. Our firm also provides legal advice for the administration of estates without a valid will or trust.
Probate can be straightforward or it can be contentious. Sometimes, beneficiaries will object to the way that a trustee handles the estate. When a trustee, executor, administrator, or attorney-in-fact behaves unethically, the heirs may file a legal claim for breach of fiduciary duty. Petrelli Law provides legal representation to individuals and families whose inheritance has been affected unethical fiduciaries. We also help family members contest wills that are unfair or improperly interpreted.
Areas of probate litigation handled by Petrelli Law include:
- Interpretation of wills and trusts
- Contested wills and trusts
- Contested guardianships
- Protection of community and marital property
- Disputes involving transfers of property
- Disputes involving the ownership of property
- Life insurance disputes
- Defense of fiduciaries charged with improper conduct
The Petrelli Law Firm offers Pennsylvania estate planning services personally tailored to each client’s needs. Our probate attorneys understand that you have suffered a loss. We want to help you handle your loved one’s affairs efficiently and in a timely manner. Please call Petrelli Law at 215-645-4297 to learn how our legal team can help you.