Probate refers to the lengthy and formal legal process in which a will is proven and an estate is administered. This formal process of reporting to the court includes valuing, listing, and distributing all the decedent’s assets under court supervision. Probate helps your estate be transferred in a supervised and orderly fashion. All owed charges and debts, for example, must be paid before distributing the estate to the beneficiaries, including assessed taxes.
The probate process helps to prevent fraud. Trustees and executors of an estate are known to face several months of legal proceedings due to the many rules in place to protect creditors, heirs, and beneficiaries.
During probate in Scranton, Wilkes-Barre, Carbondale and other parts of North Eastern PA, the executor is in charge of completing the decedent’s affairs by notifying beneficiaries and heirs, paying taxes and debts, gathering assets, accounting for estate transactions, and distributing the estate properly.
If things go smoothly in terms of gathering financial information and determining an estate’s expenses, an inheritance tax return may be filed within five to nine months of the individual’s time of death. In the state of Pennsylvania, the filing of a return and the paying of inheritance tax must be completed within nine months, unless a deadline extension has been granted.
The estate can be finalized once the return is approved and the inheritance tax is paid. The executor can begin distributing the decedent’s property to the beneficiaries by court order or by agreement of the parties. Generally, the estate can be completed within twelve months.
It is important to note that in Pennsylvania, your estate will be probated whether or not you have a will.
Due to the complexity of the probate and estate administration process, it would be best to work with a capable Pennsylvania attorney. Call Nepa & McGraw today at (570) 282-7050 for a free and confidential consultation without obligation.