The Amount of Time Allowed to Probate a Will in Pennsylvania

By Joseph Scrofano

State laws vary with regard to probate. Probate is a judicial process where a special court oversees the administration of a decedent’s estate. Typically, when a person, or testator, creates a will, the testator appoints a personal representative, or executor, in the will to administer the testator’s estate upon death. Once the testator dies, the executor must file the will for probate. In Pennsylvania, the executor may probate the will at any time after the testator’s death.

Will

A will is a written document signed by the owner of certain assets, providing instructions for how to distribute those assets upon the owner’s death. The testator should appoint an executor in the will to file the will for probate. In addition, the testator may appoint guardians for minors who may receive property pursuant to the will’s instructions. In Pennsylvania, the law does not require the signature of witnesses for the will to be valid. However, two witnesses must watch the testator sign the will and appear at probate before the Register of Wills Office and attest and identify the signature of the testator.

Probate

Once the testator dies, the executor must file for probate in the county register of wills in which the testator last resided. The will goes to probate so that the executor can prove the will’s validity. In Pennsylvania, the filing for probate is called filing a “petition for letters testamentary.” The court oversees how the executor administers the estate, makes sure all Pennsylvania laws are followed and adjudicates any disputes that arise from the executor’s administration of the estate.

Protect your loved ones. Start My Estate Plan

Executor

The executor owes what the law refers to as a “fiduciary duty” to the estate. In other words, the executor must always make decisions based on the best interest of the estate. That means the executor cannot act in the best interest of himself, the estate’s beneficiaries or other persons. The executor bears responsibility to pay all the estate’s debts with assets from the estate after inventorying the assets of the estate. After the estate is inventoried and debts are paid consistent with Pennsylvania law, the executor must transfer the estate’s assets to the will’s beneficiaries.

Estate Taxes

The executor must file Pennsylvania Inheritance Tax Return REV-1500 with the county register of wills. The form is for the estate tax and the executor must file it within 9 months of the testator’s death.

Protect your loved ones. Start My Estate Plan
The Inheritance Statute in Washington, DC
 

References

Resources

Related articles

California Executor Checklist

The executor is the person who manages the estate of the deceased, also known as the decedent, during the probate process. The executor is responsible for paying debts of the estate and distributing assets to the heirs. California law allows for the compensation of executors from the estate assets.

Time Limitations in California State Inheritance Laws

Many deadlines follow a person's death as his estate is being probated in California. Probate is the process by which courts make sure that a deceased person's debts are paid and property distributed to his heirs. Deadlines in this process must be satisfied in order for the process to proceed smoothly. Probate only applies if the combined value of the decedent's real and personal property are greater than $150,000 at the time of death. If the estate's assets are less than this, these deadlines are irrelevant.

Executor of Estate Law in Ohio

An executor is the person appointed, in your will, to administer your estate after your death. Your executor should be someone you trust to disburse your property to your beneficiaries according to your wishes. While you are free to name your executor, Ohio law does set forth certain requirements to ensure the probate process goes smoothly. The probate court must approve the executor before he starts work. If you do not have a will, the court will appoint an administrator. Collectively, executors and administrators are referred to as personal representatives.

LegalZoom. Legal help is here. Start Here. Wills. Trusts. Attorney help.

Related articles

Pennsylvania Laws on the Responsibilities for an Executor of an Estate

Executors are fiduciaries, meaning they have a responsibility to take care of assets and distribute property according ...

What Can the Executor of a Will Legally Do in Pennsylvania?

An executor is the person named in a will who handles the estate of a deceased person, called the "testator." Usually, ...

Will and Probate Requirements in Kentucky

When a person dies in Kentucky, most of the property in his estate passes through the state's probate process. During ...

Tennessee Laws for a Deceased Parent's Executor

In Tennessee, the executor of a deceased parent's estate is obligated to manage and settle the estate's affairs. ...

Browse by category
Ready to Begin? GET STARTED