If you have not looked into the full story, you may think that a last will is a simple document that can facilitate fast, efficient asset transfers after you die. The idea is that the executor that you name in the document can follow your instructions and make things happen right after you pass away.
This is a misconception. If you maintain personal possession of your property until the time of your death and use a will to state your final wishes, the executor would be required to admit the will to probate. Subsequently, the probate court would supervise the administration of the estate.
Before we look at the full probate process and the time consumption that goes along with it, we should point out the fact that there is a simplified probate process in Pennsylvania. This process is only available when there is a very small estate. A representative of an estate that is valued at $25,000 or less can petition the court to allow for a simplified probate process.
Probate Time Consumption
One of the drawbacks of probate is the fact that the heirs to the estate cannot receive their inheritances until after the process has run its course. You have to understand the fact that the executor may be handling a lot of business during the probate process, and it can take a good bit of time.
Final debts must be paid, so creditors must be notified, and they are given a certain amount of time to come forward. Taxes must be paid as well, and the assets that comprise the estate must be identified and inventoried.
Ultimately, these assets must be prepared for distribution to the heirs in accordance with the wishes of the decedent as stated in the last will. This can involve appraisals and liquidation of property.
When all these tasks have been completed, the executor can distribute assets to the heirs once the court closes the estate.
The exact duration of the probate process will vary depending on the circumstances. A best case scenario would be around nine months to a year in most areas, but there are cases that can take considerably longer.
Free Report on Probate
If you would like to obtain more detailed information about the process of probate, download our special report. This report is free to our readers, and you can visit this page to access your copy: Free Probate Report.
Schedule a Consultation
You could potentially implement strategies that would facilitate timely asset transfers outside of probate. We would be glad to assist you if you would like to explore your options.
Our firm offers free consultations, and you can request an appointment through our contact page: Southampton PA Estate Planning Attorneys.
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