Whether you are a designated personal representative or trying to handle your relative’s estate on your own, chances are, you will have to undergo probate in Pennsylvania.
It is a process that intimidates a lot of people, but you can take steps to prepare for probate and make it proceed much more smoothly.
Consider legal guidance
You can reap many rewards from obtaining legal representation during probate. Your advocate can handle at least some of the tasks below in your stead, allowing you to focus on other estate matters:
- Identifying all the deceased’s debts and assets
- Representing your and the decedent’s interests in probate court
- Locating heirs and beneficiaries, especially those residing outside the state
Legal guidance also ensures you receive the proper counsel regarding your duties throughout the probate process.
Identify creditors early
Since probate involves paying the decedent’s debts, it is critical to identify creditors early. Once you do so, contact them immediately to inform them of the death. This step ensures credit cards or loans accrue no additional penalties or late fees.
Locate all estate documents
Before initiating probate, look for estate documents (in addition to the will) the deceased may have left behind. Try not to skip this step as you may discover they created payable on death bank accounts or living trusts to avoid probate. Assets held in trust or protected by payable on death clauses are often exempt from probate.
Finally, increase your understanding of the Pennsylvania probate process. Doing so can help you decide if you need additional guidance when closing out the decedent’s estate.