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Pittsburgh Probate Attorney

Assistance with the Probate Process

Probate is a term that brings fear and concern to many individuals when they face issues of a handling and administering a decedent's estate. If the deceased left a will, the probate process involves making sure that the division of the estate is done in accordance with his or her will. It also involves resolving claims that were made by creditors against the decedent's estate. There are many complicated technical aspects involved in probate that will need to be attended to. It is crucial that you contact our firm to receive protection and guidance of a Pittsburgh estate planning lawyer. At Frayer Law Offices, we are well aware of the whole procedure and the laws governing probate.

Information You Need to Know About Probate

There are many issues involved in probate, including appointing a personal representative to help handle all affairs involving the deceased's estate plan. You also must notify creditors of the situation and then publicize the notices in a legal manner. You will have to handle any lawsuits, and solve any tax debts or estate debts. These issues need to be handled according to elder law and the laws of the state. These issues will have to be situated in any probate and acquiring the help of an estate planning lawyer could help you in many ways.

Other activities that must be performed in probate include documenting all of the decedent's property and assets, having the property appraised, distributing the property and assets to heirs and selling property notified in the will. The procedures and time frames that concern probate are very specific and complex and typically require the assistance of a lawyer. There may be challenges that make probate more difficult. If there is no created will or if the estate is very large, a lawyer can help figure out a necessary remedy. Smaller estates (those that contain no more than $25,000 in assets), are unable to undergo the simplified probate process. To do this, the executor of the estate will need to file a written request with the local probate court and ask to use the simplified procedure. Estates over $25,000 are not able to avoid the probate process, and will instead need to file the will in the Register of Wills and begin the process.

Assets That Can Skip Probate in Pennsylvania

If you are a Pennsylvania resident, then the probate process will be handled in a local court. Every state has their own probate procedure, and the courts in Pennsylvania require that almost all assets that are in the deceased person’s own name will have to undergo the process. The most common kinds of non-probate property are property that the deceased person owned in joint tenancy and assets that the person designated for a beneficiary. If the decedent created a payable-on-death account or a retirement plan account, then these probably won’t have to go through the probate process. As well, any assets that the decedent had in a living trust will not be required to undergo the probate process.

Small amounts of cash may be transferred automatically to a surviving spouse if the money was in a bank account, such as wages from the decedent’s place of employment, or life insurance that is payable to the estate. When it comes to bank account monetary gifts, the Pennsylvania law maintains that financial institutions are permitted to release up to $3,500 of the money in the accounts without probate court authorization. Employers are allowed to pay up to $3,500 in wages and salary to the surviving spouse without probate court approval, and if an insurance company owed the decedent up to $11,000 in life insurance then the company can pay the money to the surviving spouse without court approval. This life insurance contingency can be stopped if a personal representative of the state claims the due payment within 60 days after the death of the individual.

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The information on this website is for general information purposes only. Nothing on this site should be taken as legal advice for any individual case or situation. This information is not intended to create, and receipt or viewing does not constitute, an attorney-client relationship.