Probate Frequently Asked Questions
Probate is a legal process that many people do not understand, as they do not have to think about it until a loved one passes away. As a skilled estate planning attorney, I can answer these frequently asked questions about the probate process.
What Is Probate?
Put simply, probate is the legal process that takes place once someone dies. It may involve proving the validity of the decedent’s will, appraising property, paying debts and distributing property and assets.
How Long Does It Take?
The duration of probate varies case by case. For some Pennsylvania families, it can take a few weeks; for others, months or even years. The longer the process takes, the more expensive it becomes.
Is It Possible To Avoid Probate?
You can take steps to minimize and simplify the probate process. These include creating a legally sound will, establishing certain trusts and making accounts payable upon death. A lawyer can help you identify which methods are best for your estate. If a loved one has died intestate or did not take steps to avoid a complex probate process, then you may have no choice but to go through it.
Who Is Responsible For Managing Probate?
The estate’s executor is responsible for administering the estate during probate. If a loved one died intestate or the will did not name an executor, then the court will appoint an administrator.
Why Shouldn’t I Handle Probate On My Own?
Some executors try to navigate the probate process on their own. Often, this becomes incredibly stressful, time-consuming, expensive and contentious. It is in the best interests of the decedent’s executor and beneficiaries to work with a lawyer who can make the probate process go as smoothly and quickly as possible. Without a legal advocate to guide you, you may inadvertently miss deadlines, make mistakes and drag the process out much longer than necessary.