Different people have different goals when planning their estates, but a common goal quite a few people have is to avoid probate court. People see probate as expensive, which it can be. They also know that it can mean months before their loved ones can utilize the resources they leave behind.
Making careful estate plans so that you can avoid probate obligations can speed up the distribution of your assets and keep the costs associated with your estate low. However, avoiding probate isn’t as easy in Pennsylvania as it may be in other states. What assets require your estate to go through probate?
Real estate holdings and solely owned property require probate
Pennsylvania law permits estates with a total value of under $50,000 to go through a faster, more streamlined probate process, but many people can’t qualify for expedited probate proceedings.
Even if the estate’s value is under $50,000, if it includes any amount of real estate, if you have property held only in your name or if there are funeral expenses not previously handled, your estate will probably have to go through standard propane proceedings.
You can plan to keep probate simple if it is necessary
While you can’t entirely avoid probate as a testator with real estate or other valuable property in Pennsylvania, you can reduce conflict and the amount of time and money your executor must spend on probate proceedings.
A thorough estate plan, proper beneficiary designations and discussions ahead of time with your family can all reduce the likelihood of conflict and complications that will lead to contested probate proceedings. An experienced estate planning attorney can help you.