Losing a loved one is a sad and challenging event. In the aftermath of a loved one’s passing, it oftentimes is necessary to undertake what is known as the probate process in order to deal with that person’s estate. With this in mind, there are some essential elements associated with the probate process that are crucial to understand.
The Probate Process: Addressing Assets
On the surface, the probate process can seem complicated. In fact, when distilled to its essence, the probate process addresses a number of basic tasks in the aftermath of a person’s death. These include:
One of the primary tasks associated with the probate process is transferring the ownership of assets from the person who has passed away to his or her heirs or beneficiaries. This occurs in one of two different ways.
In some cases, a person dies with a last will and testament. The will governs how the property is to be distributed among heirs or beneficiaries.
In other instances, a person does not have a last will and testament when he or she dies. In those situations, the laws of the commonwealth of Pennsylvania govern the manner in which the assets of the deceased individual are distributed among the heirs or beneficiaries.
The Probate Process: Addressing Debts
The probate process is also designed to address the debts accumulated by the individual who has died. These debts oftentimes include those associated with that person’s law illness and death itself.
Valid debts must be paid first. Only after the debts are paid, including taxes, can a determination be made as to what assets are available to be distributed to the heirs of beneficiaries.
Validity of the Will
Another element in some probate proceedings is validating the will or determining whether the will meets the requirements of the laws of the commonwealth of Pennsylvania. If the will is deemed not to be valid, the laws of Pennsylvania will then govern how the assets are distributed.
Retaining a Pennsylvania Probate Lawyer
When facing the prospect of the probate process, retaining an experienced attorney is a wise course of action to take. A Pennsylvania probate lawyer will schedule an initial consultation at no cost to the prospective client.