What exactly is probate & when is it needed?

Asked about 2 years ago - Bensalem, PA

loved one passes with no will. No surviving spouse. 2 adult children

Attorney answers (3)

  1. Jay G. Fischer


    Contributor Level 12


    Lawyers agree

    Answered . The administration of an estate, commonly referred to as probate, is the legal process by which a personal representative, called an executor if the deceased had a Will or and Administrator if there is no will, safeguards the deceased’s assets, pays the deceased’s final bills and debts, files final state and federal income tax returns, files a inheritance tax return, and then distributes the remaining assets as directed in the Last Will and Testament or as determined by the law of intestacy if there was no Will. It is necessary whenever the decedent has assets solely in the decedent's name.

    NOTE: Mr. Fischer is an attorney licensed to practice in Pennsylvania. He can be reached at 610-269-0900 Ext 2 or... more
  2. Marshall D. Chriswell

    Contributor Level 11


    Lawyers agree


    Answered . Probate is the legal process of administering the estate of a deceased person, whether the person dies with or without a will. Probate is initiated at the Register of Wills by (usually) a family member or beneficiary who petition to be named as the administrator (or administratrix, if female) of the estate. The administrator, once appointed, is responsible for ensuring the deceased person's assets are safeguarded, the debts and taxes are paid, and the remaining property is distributed to the heirs in the manner prescribed by Pennsylvania law.

    The function of the probate process is to make sure title of the decedent's property passes to the heirs, and that the claims of the deceased person's creditors are extinguished.

    Probate should be opened for any estate where the deceased person was the sole owner of real estate or personal property. If all of the property was owned in joint names or in a trust, then probate *might* not have to be opened.

    You really should contact an estates attorney for a consultation.


    Marshall Chriswell

    Law Offices of Marshall D. Chriswell
    714 Philadelphia St., Suite 200
    Indiana, PA 15701
    (888) 438-5977
    (724) 465-5826


    Marshall D. Chriswell is a civil practitioner with offices in Indiana and Clearfield Counties. Mr. Chriswell's practice emphasizes Wills & Estate Planning, Probate, Real Estate, and general civil disputes.


    Mr. Chriswell provides free initial consultations, and will gladly meet clients in their homes upon request, including on the evenings or weekends.

    This communication does not constitute legal advice and does not establish an attorney/client relationship. If you... more
  3. Paula Brown Sinclair

    Contributor Level 20


    Lawyer agrees

    Answered . ASKER BEWARE the answer of Mr. Lazarus. It is identical to solicitations posted in a number questions today, inappropriate to your needs, and a terms of use violation. Avvo has been notified

    This answer is offered as a public service for general information only and may not be relied upon as legal advice.
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