A photo of probate and estate admin law book

Carrying on with our theme of processing wills after the death of a loved one, I thought it may help if we walk through the process of what exactly happens when a will goes to probate. Probate is just a fancy word to describe the process by which a will is reviewed by the court and accepted as a valid public document. 

Register of Wills will receive the petition and all information submitted to ‘prove’ its validity by their personal representative (or executor). This basically means that the will an executor has in their possession is a true reflection of the deceased’s last wishes. 

A few things to note here: the executor must provide notice of the filing for probate to all heirs, beneficiaries and known creditors; all funeral expenses, debts and taxes may be paid from the estate; and while the will is in probate, many expenses may need to be paid out of pocket while waiting for finalization from the court. 

Finalization can take several months to a year (or years), depending on complexities of the estate assets, any objections from beneficiaries or creditors, or the intricacies of business transactions.

As you can imagine, there are a few downsides to this traditional process. Aside from costs and slow processing times, probates become public record and potentially create family fights since a great deal of the decedent’s information is made public. 

Did you know it is possible, and in some cases preferable, to avoid probate or minimize its affect? My office can help you set up systems and accounts so that your heirs and beneficiaries can still receive the same assets with minimal cost and time determents, in additional to remaining private business amongst those involved. 

Call our office at 724-216-5180 or email us at john@jacochranlaw.com to discuss options on how to arrange your final affairs so that they work the best for everyone involved. 

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