Probate. If the value of an estate is over $50,000 or the estate includes real estate, then an estate must be “opened” in order to distribute the property, unless all assets transfer by operation of law. Whether or not there is a will, the Register of Wills oversees the probate process. The will dictates who will receive assets of the estate. If no will exists, then the Pennsylvania intestacy statute dictates who will receive estate assets. Our office wants to help you decide whether an estate needs to be opened and help estate executors and administrators to manage decedents’ estates.
Small Estates. Where an estate is valued at less than $50,000 and has no real estate, the estate may be better administered by filing a Petition to Settle a Small Estate. This expedited procedure avoids payment of probate fees and the distribution process is not overseen by the Register of Wills. Our office can help you to assess whether a Petition to Settle a Small Estate is advised and can represent you in these legal proceedings.
Will Contests. When beneficiaries disagree about asset distribution or estate administration, certain legal procedures are available to resolve the disagreement. Ordinarily, these matters are resolved at a hearing in front of the Register of Wills or an Orphans Court judge. Our office can help you to assess whether pursuing a will contest is advisable and represent you during the legal proceedings.