You must probate the will at the register of wills. It is not already on file at the courthouse just because it was drafted by an attorney. You should really consider hiring a probate attorney (maybe the attorney who drew up the will?). It's not that expensive usually, and always worth it to make sure things are done right.
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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.
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... Hello ...
... short and sweet ... here we go ... no, a Will is a private document that was your father's ... and, yes, you are correct - a Power of Attorney ceases at death ...
... you have to be sworn in at the Register of Wills - it's painless and takes about 16 or 17 minutes if you have all you paperwork ready ... then you have the capacity to act again ... for your father's estate now ...
... by the way, just because the attorney did it, you do not need to hire him if you choose not to do so ... it's up to you whether you feel like doing it alone - a great deal of issues are involved - or having an attorney that YOU choose ...
... Good luck ...
... John ...
John B. Whalen, Jr., J.D., LL.M. is an AV Peer Review Attorney and Counselor at Law, is listed in The Bar Register of Preeminent Lawyers, is Avvo Rated 10.0 Superb, is a recipient of the Legum Magister (LL.M.) Post-Doctorate Degree in Taxation (from the Villanova University School of Law), and is a recipient of the American Jurisprudence Award in Wills, Trusts, and Estates (from the Widener University School of Law).
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Your father's Will should be filed with the courthouse. If you are using a small estate procedure, however, the Will is normally not admitted to probate. I agree that you should have an attorney involved, regardless of which process you use. You need to make sure this is done right, or there could be expensive problems down the road.
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Depending on what the value is of the estate, there are some options available where you would not have to go through a full probate process, but rather file a proceeding with the Orphans' Court.
If the gross value of the decedent’s personal property, exclusive of real estate and payments made to family members or to a funeral director under 20 Pa. C.S. §3101, does not exceed $25,000.00 (if decedent died on or after January 30, 1995), any party in interest may petition the orphans’ court to direct distribution of the property to the parties entitled to it.
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