The death of a loved one is never easy and handling the person’s estate can be daunting. The good news is there is a detailed legal process that must be followed to settle a person’s estate – this process is known as probate.
Probate is the legal process monitored by the court to assure that all a person’s assets are distributed properly, debts are paid, and taxes are paid. Closing an estate in PA can be lengthy and you need to be sure you follow all the proper protocols. Read on to learn what happens after probate is closed.
After a Will is Probated What Happens?
The process begins with the appointment of an estate representative. The estate representative may be named in the will (if there is one) or appointed by the court.
After the estate representative is appointed, they have a few steps to follow:
- Locate and gather all assets
- Sell assets
- Pay debts
- Pay necessary taxes (inheritance and estate)
- Account for all estate assets and debts
- Distribute inheritance to beneficiaries
It’s important for the estate representative to do everything correctly, because they can be held personally liable. If you’re an estate representative, It’s a great idea to consult a probate lawyer to protect yourself.
What Happens After the Probate Process is Complete?
The final step to closing probate is to provide the beneficiaries with a final accounting that shows all transactions. This includes all assets and their values, debts, and expenses that were paid. The beneficiaries must sign a release to accept the accounting, then all proceeds will be distributed. If the beneficiaries will not sign or there is a dispute over the accounting, a formal accounting must be submitted to the court for review and approval.
What Happens after Probate is Closed?
After everything is complete and the estate closed, the estate representative must file a final status report with the County Register of Wills stating that the estate has been concluded. This is an important step to finish the process and is often overlooked.
Do I Need to Hire a Probate Lawyer?
If you’re an estate representative and determining whether you need to hire a probate attorney, there are a few things to keep in mind. As an estate representative, you’re held to the highest standards of loyalty and care according to the law. If you unknowingly or negligently make a mistake, you will be held personally and financially responsible. Hiring a probate lawyer will give you peace of mind and protect your liability throughout the probate and estate closing processes.
If you’re considering hiring a probate lawyer, the team at Cherewka Law offers free consultations. Cherewka Law’s goal is to make the probate process as smooth and painless as possible, while keeping you on the right side of the law. Give Cherewka Law a call at 717.232.4701.