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Facts You Need To Know About Probate In Pennsylvania

Probate is an administrative process that validates a person’s will and resolves intestate estates. Almost every estate will encounter the probate process in some way. It can be complex, but with the guidance of an experienced estate planning attorney, it doesn’t have to overwhelm you.

At Douglas, Joseph & Olson Attorneys At Law, our team has been around for decades and built a reputation in Hermitage and Jamestown for thorough, compassionate service. Since 1994, clients in Mercer County, Crawford County and the surrounding areas have relied on our advice and guidance to make smart, sound decisions for dealing with matters of probate. The truth is probate can be extremely fraught, but by understanding the facts, it does not have to be so painful.

Are You An Executor Or An Administrator?

When a person dies, the court will appoint a person to be the personal representative of the estate. The specific title will depend on whether the decedent selected this individual or the court appointed them. The only difference is that the decedent chooses an executor, and the court designates an administrator. Executors have many duties and responsibilities and often need answers to their estate law questions from knowledgeable probate lawyers.

Every Estate Has Debts To Pay

In any case, regardless of their title, one of the main responsibilities of the personal representative will be resolving the debts and bills of the estate. Every person and entity to which the decedent owed money has an opportunity to make a claim against the estate. The executor will have to pay or otherwise resolve these debts.

Additionally, there is often paid work that goes into resolving estate debts, such as retaining legal representation. Before any beneficiary can receive their share of the estate, the estate must pay those bills.

Some Property Avoids Probate

Not every piece of estate property will go through probate. There are several ways that an estate planning lawyer that a person can plan their estate to have some assets avoid the process, including:

  • Naming beneficiaries for bank accounts
  • Placing assets in trusts
  • Taking out life insurance policies
  • Establishing joint tenancy for real estate

Property will be transferred to the decedent’s heirs in slightly different ways, and there are some important obligations to remember in each case.

Contact Our Probate Attorneys For Knowledgeable Answers And Guidance

There are many more facts and pieces of information you will need to resolve your probate questions than we can address on this page. Thankfully, our attorneys will be there every step of the way to help you find the answers that will make a real impact on your life. Call us today at 724-704-0554 or send us an email to get started.