Guiding You Through The Probate Process
Finding yourself in the role of executor or personal representative of someone’s estate can be a daunting responsibility. Not only are you feeling the loss of a loved one, you are now responsible for safekeeping property, making sure the estate is distributed properly, and filing the appropriate paperwork with the Register of Wills on time. In addition, new family dynamics often come to light as family members adjust to life without the deceased.
You do not have to go through this process alone. At O'Byrne Law, LLC, we have a thorough knowledge of the estate administration process and work compassionately with our clients to help them through this difficult time. We encourage you to contact us early in the process to ensure that deadlines are not missed and common mistakes are avoided. Our office is available to provide support and guidance during this time, even before the probate estate is officially opened.
What is Probate?
Probate is a process that identifies the assets you leave at death that are in your name alone, notifies all interested parties and creditors of your passing, determines which assets are subject to the terms of your Will, provides for identification and payment of your personal debts and taxes, accounts for the value of all of the assets in your estate and ultimately oversees the distribution of your estate to the right people or entities. The entire process takes place under the authority of the Orphans’ Court and the Register of Wills for the county where you lived. Your probate estate includes only those assets in your own name when you die. Most probate estates can be closed after about a year, although sometimes tax issues and family dynamics may cause a delay in closure.
Not All Assets Go Through Probate
Many of the assets we own today will not pass through probate. Those that are jointly titled generally will pass directly to the next owner without going through probate. Assets that have a beneficiary designation, like life insurance and retirement accounts, will pass according to these instructions and are not included in the probate process. Assets that pass outside of probate are not subject to the terms of the deceased person’s Will. The same applies to property that is in a trust.
We can help you identify the assets that need to go through probate and those that do not. There may be paperwork to claim the non-probate assets, and there may be important decisions related to taxes and the timing and manner of receiving these assets. We can help beneficiaries to work through these decisions and complete the necessary forms.
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