Reading Probate Attorney
When a person dies, their estate must pass through probate. Navigating probate can be exhausting for a number of reasons, including that the administrator of the decedent’s estate may still be coping with feelings of grief and loss, and because probate is a technical legal process that is often confusing and draining. At the law office of van der Veen, O’Neill, Hartshorn, and Levin, our Reading probate attorneys can represent you during the probate process, allowing you to focus on other things in your life. Call us today to learn more.
What Is Probate?
Probate is the court-supervised process of taking an inventory of the decedent’s estate, paying creditors, and then distributing remaining assets to beneficiaries. It’s important to note that regardless of whether or not a person has a will, their estate must pass through probate. The person who is responsible for navigating the probate process is the personal executor/administration of the estate, who is named in the decedent’s will. If no administrator has been named, then the court will appoint someone. The administrator will be responsible for inventorying estate assets, paying taxes and debts, and then distributing any remaining assets to the proper beneficiaries, as named by the will. If there is no will, then assets should be distributed per the state’s intestate succession law.
Assets that Pass Through Probate
While an estate must go through probate, not all assets within an estate are subject to the probate process. For example, assets that are exempt from the probate process in Reading include:
- Assets held in a trust (the fact that assets that are held in a trust are exempt from the probate process is one of the primary reasons to consider creating a trust);
- Assets for which a designated beneficiary has been named, such as a life insurance policy;
- Assets that are held in joint tenancy with another person, such as a home with two names on the title;
- Some wages and money held in bank accounts – in Pennsylvania, banks may release up to $10,000 to a beneficiary of a decedent without going through probate first. Amounts of money greater than this, though, will need to pass through probate.
It’s important to note that there is the regular probate process–which is longer and more tedious–as well as a simplified probate process. For estates valued at less than $50,000, a simplified probate process is possible.
Call Our Reading Probate Lawyers Today
When you have lost a loved one, the last thing that you want to think about is the probate process. Not only is this process complex, but it can also lead to disputes and conflict amongst beneficiaries. At the law offices of van der Veen, O’Neill, Hartshorn, and Levi, our Reading probate lawyers can provide you with representation and support. We can handle the entire probate process on your behalf and ensure that it’s executed efficiently and correctly. To learn more, please call our Reading probate lawyers directly today for the support you need.