What is the Time Limit to Probate a Will in Pennsylvania?

by | Nov 2, 2021 | Articles, Estate Administration/Probate

When a parent or a grandparent suddenly passes away, the family is usually left to take care of their assets, including their estate. While this is undoubtedly an emotionally challenging time, the family needs to make practical decisions too.

If you have no idea how to probate a will, don’t worry because the attorneys at Cherewka Law are here to answer some of the most common questions about it, including what the time limit is to probate a will in Pennsylvania.

What Is Probate?

Probate is the legal process of handling a deceased person’s estate. Every state has its own laws regarding the probate process. In general, this would involve finding and collecting the money and all the other possessions of the deceased individual and distributing them as an inheritance. This will be done after all taxes and debts are paid. If the deceased has left a will, then it will name who will administer the estate.

Are All Estates Required to Go Through Probate in Pennsylvania?

Even when an estate has to go through probate, the probate law in Pennsylvania allows for a more simplified process, given that the estate qualifies. This is available for estates that are valued at no higher than $50,000. The first step to knowing whether or not the estate of your loved one qualifies is to submit a request to the court.

A will generally only needs to be filed with the county if there are probate assets; i.e. money or property that are in the deceased person’s name alone, with no joint owners or named beneficiaries.  If probate is necessary, the executor should file the will along with a petition for probate in the county where the deceased individual resided.

How Long Do You Have to File Probate After a Loved One’s Death in Pennsylvania?

In Pennsylvania, there is no set deadline for filing probate. However, the law requires that the inheritance tax be wholly paid within nine months after the person’s passing unless there has been a request for an extension.

How Long Does Probate Take?

The timeline for this varies depending on how complex and how big the estate is. Creditors are also allowed to submit their claims up to a year from the publication time. You can also expect probate to last at least a year before it closes. However, in more complex cases, it can last for a few years, especially if there is a dispute, or there are complicated matters involved such as a business or commercial real estate.

What Happens After Probate is Closed?

The primary goal of probate is to make sure that all debts and taxes are paid and for the beneficiaries to get their inheritance. Once all the taxes, obligations, and other expenses are paid, the executor will provide the beneficiaries with a final accounting, showing all the assets and their equivalent values. This accounting will usually be an “informal accounting” that doesn’t need to be filed with the court, as long as all of the beneficiaries agree with the numbers and sign off on the accounting.

Once the beneficiaries accept the provided accounting, the executor will have all of them sign releases so the final proceeds can be distributed. Once the proceeds have been distributed, a final status report will be filed with the Country Register of Wills to inform them that the estate has been concluded successfully.

Contact a Probate Lawyer in Cumberland County

Probate is a complicated process, especially if you don’t know much about it. However, understanding how the process works and what you can expect from it can help relieve any anxiety you might feel towards it. If you have further questions regarding probate, a seasoned estate lawyer can answer them for you.

Cherewka Law can provide you with a reliable probate lawyer in Cumberland County, PA, who can handle these legal matters for you. Contact us today to know how we can help you!

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