At the time when your loved one, unfortunately, passes away, it is understandable to want to take ample time to mourn. This is why it may be frustrating to have to undergo the probate process. What’s worse is if this process creates disputes amongst your family members, when in reality you should be banding together to grieve. For these reasons, you may require support from a legal representative. Read on to discover the steps involved in the probate process and how one of the seasoned Butler County probate attorneys at Heritage Elder Law & Estate Planning, LLC can walk you through every step.
What steps are involved in the Pennsylvania probate process?
To start, probate is the legal process in which your loved one’s will is submitted to the Register of Wills/Orphan’s Court. From here, your loved one’s heirs may collect their shares of the inheritance, as per the terms of their will. Now, this process may not be as straightforward as you initially assumed. While it varies by state, the steps involved in the Pennsylvania probate process are as follows:
- If your loved one established a will, then an individual must be appointed executor of the estate.
- If your loved ones did not have a valid and enforceable will, then an individual must be appointed administrator of the estate.
- This executor or administrator must go to the courthouse, appear before the Register of Wills, and be sworn in.
- The executor or administrator will be granted control over your loved one’s assets.
- With a will, the executor will distribute the assets according to its terms.
- Without a will, the administrator will distribute the assets according to the Pennsylvania intestacy laws.
Since Pennsylvania’s intestacy laws can get quite confusing, it is strongly recommended to consult with an experienced attorney beforehand.
How long does this process take, from start to finish?
You should expect the probate process to take approximately one year and six months; this timeframe starts on the date of your loved one’s passing. However, you must account for the roadblocks that you might hit along the way. For example, your loved one may have left behind complex assets that the executor or administrator finds difficult to distribute fairly. This is not to mention the inheritance tax return that must be filed with the Pennsylvania Department of Revenue. Also, some of your family members may speak out and contest the will.
This is all to say that, when it comes to a legal process as intricate as this one, you should not go through it alone. Rather, you should have one of the competent Butler County probate attorneys from Heritage Elder Law & Estate Planning, LLC stand by your side. Contact our firm today.