Scranton Probate Lawyer
Navigating the Probate Process in Pennsylvania Can Be Confusing – Let Our Experienced Scranton Probate Lawyer Help.
Losing a loved one is never an easy thing, even when death comes after years of a well-lived life and is anticipated. And in addition to the many emotions that accompany the death of a family member, surviving loved ones must also think about funeral and burial or other memorial services, as well as what will become of the decedent’s estate. In Pennsylvania, the laws that regulate the collection and distribution of an estate are known as probate laws. Skilled Scranton probate lawyer, Ernest D. Preate, Jr. Esquire, can help you navigate probate after a loved one’s death.
What Is Probate?
Probate is the official, legal process of proving a will, collecting the assets of the estate, paying any of the estate’s debts, and distributing remaining assets to beneficiaries per the terms of the will. If a person does nothave a will, then they have died “intestate,” and their estate will be subject to Pennsylvania’s laws of intestate succession. These laws determine who gets what after the death of an individual. For example, if there are surviving children but no spouse, the children will get everything; if there is both a surviving spouse and children, the spouse will inherit the first $30,000 of the estate, as well as half of the remaining balance.
Assets that Pass through Probate and Assets that Are Exempt
When a person dies, the administrator of the estate will be responsible for initiating the probate process, and knowing which assets must pass through probate, and which are exempt, is important. Assets that are typically exempt from a probate proceeding include:
- Assets held in joint tenancy;
- Assets with a named beneficiary, such as a life insurance policy; and
- Any assets held within a trust.
It is best to talk to an attorney who can advise you regarding the specific property in question and whether or not it must go through probate.
Simplified vs. Formal Probate Proceeding
In Pennsylvania, there is a both a simplified and a formal probate process; smaller estates may pass through the former and larger estates will need to go through formal probate. A small estate is considered one where the value of assets does not total more than $50,000.
If assets held by the estate are valued at more than $50,000, formal probate is necessary. If you are tasked with bringing forth a formal probate proceeding as the named executor of an estate, you should think seriously about retaining legal counsel. The formal probate process is not only complicated, but long and tedious, too.
Call Our Scranton Probate Lawyer Today
Trying to figure out the probate process can be a tough undertaking, especially when you are dealing with all of the other challenges that accompany the death of a family member. For help in understanding probate and going through the process as smoothly as possible, call our Scranton probate attorney at the office of Ernest D. Preate, Jr. Esquire today for a consultation.