Following the death of a friend or loved one, it can be difficult to manage funeral arrangements, let alone handle the closing of his or her estate. Closing out an estate in Pennsylvania can be made even more difficult if the decedent died without leaving a will behind. In such cases, probate court is generally necessary.

What is probate? It is the official process of administering someone’s estate. When there is a solid estate plan in place, going to probate court may be avoided. When there is not, a judge will get to make a lot of important decisions regarding the future of the estate.

To open a probate case, it is necessary to file an official request with the county of which the decedent was a resident. The individual filing to request will be the person interested in being named the official administrator. A judge may deny the request if anyone else is fighting for this position. Once the administrator is officially named, the real work of closing out the estate can begin.

The administrator has a difficult job. He or she must make sure final taxes are paid, that creditor claims are addressed and that assets are passed on to any identified beneficiaries. Mistakes can happen if one is not careful or if one is unsure of what he or she is doing. Thankfully, it is possible to have legal counsel assist with probate proceedings in the state of Pennsylvania. With the right assistance, probate can be completed swiftly and properly.