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What Is the Probate Process?

It is an honor and privilege to be selected to administer a loved one’s personal and financial affairs after he or she passes away but when the time actually comes to administer the decedent’s estate, it can be a daunting task.

Have you found yourself serving as the executor of someone’s estate?  Are you unsure about the probate process and what your role entails?  Read on to learn more about probate and how to make the process as smooth as possible.

What is Probate?

Simply put, “probate” is the process through which the court determines what is considered to be the legal property of a deceased person and how those assets are to be distributed.  While this may seem like a simple process, it can easily become complicated.  The probate process must adhere to specific procedures and even in the best circumstances, can take months or even years to complete.

What Steps Must be Taken in the Probate Process?

While a properly-written and fully executed will can help to keep the probate process short and straightforward, there are elements outside of your control that can prolong and complicate matters.  There are several steps that must be taken in order to complete probate.  Firstly, an executor or personal representative must be appointed, the will must be verified and an inventory of the deceased’s assets must be taken (which can be challenging if proper records haven’t been kept).  Additionally, creditors must be given notice of the death and valid claims against the estate must be paid.  Taxes also need to be prepared and paid and beneficiaries will need to be notified.  Eventually all assets must be distributed to the heirs or beneficiaries (which can be difficult if they can not be easily located or contacted).

Have You Been Asked to Serve as Executor?

If you have been asked to serve as the executor of a loved one’s estate or will, you may feel overwhelmed at the thought of trying to organize all of the required information and execute each step as outlined above.  The good news is that you don’t have to go through the process on your own.  Our trusted probate attorneys in Pittsburgh can help you navigate the probate process from beginning to end.  We are experienced estate planning lawyers and will assist you with every step from filing the first court documents to helping protect your inheritance.

To discuss your specific needs and to find out how a Pittsburgh probate lawyer can help you probate a will and administer an estate, please call us at Fingeret Law at 412-254-8533 or contact us online.