Over 40 years of
Probate & Estate Administration Experience
We have the know-how you need.
Over the past 20 years, the team at Halligan & Keaton have guided many clients through the Pennsylvania probate process. We can provide assistance, from the filing of papers with the court to the preparation of tax documents to the distribution of assets.
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Selaine Keaton and William (Bill) G. Halligan
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.
Probating and Administering a Pennsylvania estate can be challenging for a number of reasons:
Most people who are called upon to probate a will have never done the task before.
It can be intimidating to know that you may 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.
If you have been named the executor or administrator of an estate, you now have a legal duty to the estate’s heirs and beneficiaries. You can be held personally liable for errors and underpayments in the estate. By working with a Pennsylvania probate attorney at Halligan & Keaton, you will have the guidance and support of experienced legal professionals on your side.
We can handle every aspect of Pennsylvania probate, from the filing of the Petition for Letters Testamentary, which begins the process, to the distribution of the assets to the named beneficiaries, which ends the process.
Steps to Probating and Administering an Estate in Pennsylvania
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, usually a family member petitions the Register of Wills to become the Estate's Administrator.
Filing of Will with the Court: The executor or personal representative will file a Petition for Grant of Letters Testamentary if there is a Will or Grant of Letters of Administration if there is no Will.
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.
Inventory and Appraisal of the Estate: The most time-consuming part of the process for most executors is documentation of the estate. This includes valuation and collection of financial assets, such as bank accounts, investment accounts, final paychecks and retirement accounts. It also includes documenting outstanding debts.
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 estate, funeral expenses, outstanding household and medical expenses, creditors and taxes.
Preparation of the Pennsylvania Inheritance Tax Return: The Inheritance Tax Return must be filed and the tax paid within 9 months from the decedent's passing.
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.
-- Janice G.
I highly recommend the Law Offices of Halligan and Keaton. They settled my mother's estate and their knowledge, attention to detail, and honesty was superb. The fees were very reasonable too. They were extremely professional and very trustworthy. I give both of them an A+ for all of the above.