The probate process may remain a mystery until a loved one’s death. Then you may find yourself thrown into this common court process armed with little to no insight.
A will goes through probate in Pennsylvania regardless of the estate’s value. The probate process may follow a simplified path for estates valued at $50,000 or less (not including real estate). Anything over that threshold must enter full probate. Discovery some common challenges you may face taking a will through the court.
Did you follow the process?
Probate is a way for the court to ensure that the deceased’s creditors receive relevant payments and the heirs named inherit as the deceased intended. Probate requires you as the executor to follow a particular process. A large component of this is accessing the documents containing relevant accounting. If the deceased did not leave this information readily available, the process may stall until you find it. At the same time, the court will have you notify those named that probate has begun and publish a notice that creditors may intervene to stake their claim.
Is the will valid?
Some of the most common challenges in probate involve proving the validity of the will. For example, a person may challenge a will asserting:
- The deceased was unduly influenced
- The deceased was not mentally capable when signing
- The deceased did not realize it was a will when signing
Anyone who challenges a will must have a verifiable relation to the deceased and must prove the claims stated in the action. The probate process may come to a halt while the judge decides the matter.
Probate is a necessary part of death. When it is your responsibility to take care of someone else’s affairs, understanding how it works is key to getting through it with minimal challenges.