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Pennsylvania Probate and Estate Administration

How does probate work?

Estate administration is the process of managing the distribution of a deceased person's assets and property according to their will or state laws.  Trust administration, similarly, is the process of carrying out the terms of the trust and distributing property to beneficiaries or to additional trusts for their benefit.  Both estate and trust administration can be complex and time-consuming, which is why many people choose to work with a trusts and estates attorney to help them navigate the legal, logistical and tax aspects of this process.

What should I know about the Pennsylvania probate process?

In Pennsylvania, the estate administration process begins with the appointment of an estate administrator, or executor. This person has many responsibilities including not only the management of the deceased person's assets, debts and taxes, but also many statutorily required steps and procedures.

One of the first tasks of the estate administrator is to gather and inventory the deceased person's assets. This includes real estate, personal property, financial accounts, and any other assets the person owned. The administrator may need to obtain appraisals to determine the value of certain assets, such as real estate or collectibles.  Bank accounts in the decedent’s name must be closed and moved to an estate account, for which an EIN must be obtained.

Once the assets have been identified, the administrator must pay any outstanding debts and taxes, and keep careful records throughout the process. The administrator may also be responsible for filing the deceased person's final tax return and paying any taxes owed.

In addition to those steps, there are other statutory requirements that must be followed in order to properly administer the estate. These requirements include giving notice—with specific information outlined in Pennsylvania law—and filing certification thereof with the court, using county-specific forms, to beneficiaries; placing an advertisement of the estate in two different newspapers, and ensuring no debt is owed to the Pennsylvania Department of Human Services.

Finally, an inheritance tax return may need to be filed with the Pennsylvania Department of Revenue if the decedent's estate is subject to inheritance tax. The return must be filed within nine months of the decedent's death, and it must include information about the assets of the estate and the beneficiaries who will be receiving them.  A discount may be obtained if filed within three months of the date of death.

Once all debts and taxes have been paid, the administrator can begin the process of distributing the remaining assets to the heirs or beneficiaries. If the deceased person had a will, the executor will follow the instructions in the will to distribute the assets. If there is no will, the assets will be distributed according to Pennsylvania's laws of intestacy, which outline how property should be divided among family members in the absence of a will.  Releases should be obtained by the administrator so as to protect him/her from any potential liabilities that may arise.

It is important to note that these are just a few of the processes for administering an estate in Pennsylvania. There may be other requirements that need to be followed, depending on the specific circumstances of the case. If you have questions about the requirements for administering an estate in Pennsylvania, you should consult with an attorney who is experienced in probate law.

It’s okay to ask for help.

Overall, estate administration is a complex and often emotional process. Working with an experienced estate administration attorney can help individuals ensure that the process is handled efficiently and smoothly, and that the deceased person's assets are distributed according to their wishes.

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Client Success Stories

When I look back on my experience with Curran Estate & Elder Ĺaw, Rose Kennedy, Esq. and Angela Peck, Paralegal, displayed the utmost professionalism, and concomitant with that was their compassion , concern and sensitivity to our life event... the passing of my mother. In addition to pleasant meetings each time we met, the staff demonstrated remarkable knowledge and expertise and the ability to put it all in layman's terms. Overall a wonderfully pleasant experience! My recommendation for them is high! Such nice people!
Lynn Simmeth
Lynn Simmeth
The staff at Curran did a great job taking care of my fathers needs. The staff were all very friendly and accommodating to his mobility issues and in general were quite good to work with. I would highly recommend Curran for all of your estate planning.
Gerry Foster
Gerry Foster
Rose and company were professional and very helpful with my estate planning. I feel secure for myself and my kids!
wmObe
wmObe
Knowledgeable and professional service and review of the various options that exist for our estate planning needs.
Kathleen Nevel
Kathleen Nevel
Curran Law was exceptionally helpful answering questions about next steps for my aging parents. They were extremely generous with their time.And, their knowledge of elder care was extensive.
Christy Strazzella
Christy Strazzella
Curran Estate prepared an Estate planning portfolio for my husband and I. The staff were very friendly and knowledgeable. They took the time to answer any questions and everything was done in a timely and professional manner.
Rhonda Gartland
Rhonda Gartland
Rose is the best. I continue to recommend Rose, and Curran to everyone. I truly do!!!
Cindy Kurtz
Cindy Kurtz
we were very pleased with all they did , and would have been lost without them. We would recommend them to anyone .
Fred Heckman
Fred Heckman
This law firm helped our family with a complicated situation of one parent in a nursing facility and the other parent living at home. Thank you so much for your help and compassion..
Maidmariondesign
Maidmariondesign
Curran Estate & Elder Law, PLLC

1212 Liggett Ave.
Reading, PA 19611

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