Philadelphia Probate Attorney
Probate in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania can be complex, and it is important to work with an experienced Philadelphia probate attorney as you go through this process. You should know in advance that the probate process can be time-consuming, and you will need to know which assets go through probate and which can be passed without probate. At van der Veen, O’Neill, Hartshorn, and Levin, we have years of experience representing clients in the Pennsylvania probate process, and we can begin working with you today.
What is Probate in Philadelphia?
Probate is the legal term that refers to the process of handling a person’s assets and general affairs after their death. Many assets will need to be distributed through probate, although certain types of assets will not go through the probate process. Most probate issues in Philadelphia are governed by Pennsylvania law.
Generally speaking, whether or not a person has a will, their estate will go through the probate process. When a person dies with a valid will, the person named as the representative in the deceased’s will—a person known as an executor or executrix—will handle the probate process. If there is no will and the deceased has died intestate, then the intestacy probate process will be handled by an administrator of the estate.
Understanding Probate in Philadelphia
Small estates in Pennsylvania can be eligible for a simplified probate process, which can be available for estates of $50,000 or less. To go through a simplified probate process, the executor or administrator must petition for simplified probate. Otherwise, the estate will need to go through the regular probate process.
Generally speaking, assets will need to be distributed through probate unless they fall into one of the following categories:
- Assets in a trust;
- Assets owned in joint tenancy, such as in a shared bank account; and
- Assets paid to a beneficiary, such as through a life insurance policy.
During probate, the personal representative—either the executor or the administrator—will inventory assets, will liquidate property as necessary, will pay debts and taxes, and will be required to file court reports. This process tends to be more complicated for certain estates, and it is important to learn more from a Philadelphia probate lawyer about the specific issues and factors in your case.
Probate and Estate Planning in Philadelphia
If you are currently working with an estate planning lawyer and you want to learn more about options for avoiding probate, you should discuss the possibility of creating a trust, naming beneficiaries to certain accounts, and other options for allowing assets to pass outside of the probate process. Avoiding probate is often a concern for many people who are engaging in estate planning in Philadelphia, and our attorneys can help.
Contact an Estate Planning Attorney in Philadelphia for Probate Assistance
Whether you are the named executor of an estate that will need to go through the probate process or you are considering estate planning options to avoid probate, one of the experienced Philadelphia estate planning lawyers at our firm can help. Do not hesitate to get in touch with us for more information. Contact van der Veen, O’Neill, Hartshorn, and Levin today.