What is Probate?

Estate plans are very beneficial for people to create before they die. An extensive estate plan allows an individual to plan what happens to their estate after their life is over. Before an estate can be distributed to its beneficiaries, it must go through the process of probate. Probate determines whether or not an individual’s will is a valid document. It also establishes the value of their assets as well as if there are any outstanding debts or taxes that require payment. When an individual in Pennsylvania passes away, they may have an estate to be administered and a will that must go through probate. It is important to consult an experienced attorney if you are handling the estate administration process.

Filing a Will to Probate

When an individual creates an estate plan, they usually pick a loved one to assume the role of executor. This person takes care of the administrative duties of an estate plan. To begin the job, the executor must file the individual’s will in the Surrogate Court where they lived. This calls for the executor to provide the court with a death certificate, a probate petition, and any other necessary documents. After the will is filed, all beneficiaries of the estate receive information of where the probate will occur.

The process of probate establishes whether or not an individual’s will is valid. This requires the will to have gone through the proper legal process in order to be authentic. When a will is created, certain guidelines must be followed. These guidelines demand the individual writing the will sign the document to sign it in front of witnesses, be of sound mind, and not be coerced into doing so. If the guidelines are not followed, the will may not pass probate. If the Surrogate Court finds the will to be valid, the administration process can begin.

Closing an Estate

When a will passes probate, the executor can continue the rest of their responsibilities. This may require them to pay any debts or taxes, resolve contests to the will, and distribute all assets to their rightful beneficiaries. When the court believes the executor completed their job, the process can end and the estate can be closed.

Contact our Firm

If you have been assigned as an executor and are required to take care of an estate, contact Mattleman, Weinroth & Miller, P.C., today.

The law firm of Mattleman, Weinroth & Miller, P.C., is composed of experienced defense attorneys throughout the state of New Jersey. Please contact the office for a free initial consultation and get any questions answered regarding criminal charges and procedures.