May 27, 2017

Media, PA, Probate Lawyers

Probating a Pennsylvania estate can be challenging for a number of reasons:

  • Most people who are called upon to probate a legal will have never done the task before.
  • It can be intimidating to know that you can be held financially liable for any mistakes you might make in the process.
  • Probate must begin soon after the death of a loved one, a time of stress and grief when you may not feel up to a new task.
  • It’s not unusual for conflicts to arise among heirs, which require sensitivity and skill to navigate.

You do not have to tackle this task on your own. Whether you are a probate novice or you have probated a Pennsylvania estate before, working with an experienced Pennsylvania probate lawyer can ensure you accomplish the task correctly.

Over the past 40 years, the Media probate lawyers at Halligan & Keaton have guided thousands of clients through the Pennsylvania probate process. We can provide as much or as little assistance as you need, from the filing of papers with the court to the preparation of tax documents to the distribution of assets. Contact our Media law office to schedule your free initial consultation and let us explain the process.

Steps in Probating a Pennsylvania Estate

  1. Identification of Executor/Administrator: After a death, a close family member will usually come forward with a will. The will usually names the person who is to be the executor of the estate. If there is no will, the court will appoint someone (usually a close relative) as the personal representative. That person will perform the same function as the executor. If there is a conflict over the appointment of a personal representative, the court will appoint a neutral outside administrator. The attorneys at Halligan & Keaton have sometimes been assigned that role.
  2. Filing of Will with the Court: The executor or personal representative will file a Petition for Probate of Will and Appointment of Executor at the Register of Wills.
  3. Notice of Probate Proceeding: The public must be notified of the death so that creditors can request payment for debts. This is done by advertising the grant of letters in a newspaper of general circulation at or near the place where the decedent resided, and in a legal periodical.
  4. Inventory and Appraisal of the Estate: The most time-consuming part of the process for most executors is documentation of the estate. This includes property valuation and collection of financial assets, such as bank accounts, investment accounts, final paychecks and retirement accounts. It also includes documenting outstanding debts.
  5. Payment of Outstanding Debts: It’s the job of the executor to pay any outstanding bills out of the assets of the estate. This includes the cost of administering the probate process, funeral expenses, outstanding household and medical expenses, creditors and taxes.
  6. Transfer of property: Once the bills have been paid, and the inheritance tax return is approved and, if necessary, a federal Estate tax return filed and approved, then the remaining assets can be transferred to the heirs and beneficiaries. A deed to a home may be transferred to a new owner, or a home may be sold.

Probate Mediation

No one benefits when the assets of an estate are drained by litigation brought by disputing family members. Attorney Bill Halligan has extensive experience mediating family conflicts during the probate process. These problems can be addressed in probate litigation, but the use of mediation to resolve conflicts saves clients both time and money.

Contact a Pennsylvania Probate Attorney

You can feel confident that you will handle the probate process correctly when you work with the law firm of Halligan & Keaton. Contact our Pennsylvania probate attorneys to schedule a free initial consultation, or call 610-566-6030.

Halligan & Keaton are located in Media, PA and serve Delaware County, Montgomery County and Chester County including the communities of Media, Springfield, Havertown, West Chester, Ardmore, Upper Darby, Blue Bell, Plymouth Meeting, King of Prussia and Lansdowne.