What is probate?

Probate is the process of proving a Last Will and Testament, and the orderly accounting and distribution of your estate.  Through the probate process, a personal representative (either by will or by statute) will administer the estate and ensure that all the proper disclosures are made, an accurate inventory is taken and filed with the Orphan’s Court, and that your assets and property are distributed in accordance with your wishes.   The entire process of probate can be confusing and complicated.  Most people hire a lawyer to assist them.  There are different types of administrations for probate, which will differ based on the size of the estate.  Some people prefer to attempt to avoid probate and will therefore move their assets into non-probatable property.  We know how to assist you to avoid probate.

 If a loved one of yours has passed and you need help probating the estate, we can assist you.  Our office has experience both writing and drafting the testamentary documents are probating estates.  Probating an estate can be complicated.  There are time lines and deadlines for filing papers with the Court.  Bills and taxes will need to be paid, an inventories taken.  In addition, it may be required to have an appraiser value the assets and an accountant or real estate agent get involved to settle out the assets of the estate.  We here at the Law Offices of Shechtel and Associates, P.A. have experience probating estates and can assist you.

How do I avoid probate?

There are ways to minimize, or even avoid, going through probate.  The avoidance of probate can be efficiently accomplished by: holding property jointly – either as tenants by the entirety or tenants with rights of survivorship, having joint accounts, titling multiple-party accounts, creating a trust agreement, and by the appointing beneficiaries in life insurance proceeds and employee benefit plans.  But the avoidance of probate does not mean that you can avoid probate altogether.  A lot of times, probate may be necessary even if you took advantage of every probate avoidable tactic that is available.