Special Needs Estate Administration Elder Care Estate Planning Business Planning
Share

HighPoint Law Blog

Wednesday, December 10, 2014

How to Avoid the Need for a Probate Lawyer in Bucks and Montgomery Counties

If you are dealing with an estate that has to go through the probate process in Pennsylvania, your smartest move is choosing to work with a local probate lawyer.  There are cases where very simple estates will move through fairly easily, but there is still a matter of paperwork, accounting, etc. to consider; and a probate lawyer can save you an incredible amount of time and hassle.

The best way to avoid the need for a probate lawyer in Pennsylvania is to make sure that your estate planning has been done in advance.  This means that you’ve set up wills, trusts, and any other applicable legal documents so that those you leave behind won’t have to deal with taking the entire estate through the court system.  Trusts, such as a revocable living trust, are one of the most common tools for avoiding probate, but there are some other possible options.

Small Estates

Some people think that having a will means that your estate will bypass the process.  Any reputable probate lawyer in the Greater Philadelphia area will tell you, however, that this isn’t the case.  Having a will is certainly still important, as it provides important directions for the dissemination of your estate, but it doesn’t get your heirs off the hook when it comes to probate.

If the estate is truly a “small” one, then you may be able to avoid probate.  This can happen in cases where there the only thing left behind is personal property.  In these situations, there is no real estate to be inherited.  The laws regarding the allowable value of an estate to be considered in this group does change, so it might be helpful to at least chat with your local probate lawyer to see if the estate qualifies.  If so, the heir may be able to create an affidavit that will work instead of going through probate.  There may also be some simplified court procedures available to heirs of these very small estates.

Transfer-on-Death Deeds

Many states allow for real estate to be transferred after death without going through probate.  Again, laws change regularly, so it’s a good idea to check with a local probate lawyer or estate planning attorney to ensure that this is an option for you.  This kind of deed needs to be created in advance and will specify that it doesn’t take effect until the owner of the property has died.  Fortunately, transfer-on-death deeds can be revoked if the situation changes before the owner passes away.  This is not just a “gentleman’s agreement” and requires legal preparation, signatures, and notarization before being filed.

These are just a couple of tools available to those who want to avoid the eventual need for a probate lawyer.  If they have not been put into place, or you’re not sure if these rules apply to you, it’s advisable to speak with a qualified attorney in advance.


Archived Posts

2017
2016
2015
2014


HighPoint Law Offices assists clients with Estate Planning, Probate and Estate Administration, Medicaid Planning and IRA Preservation in Chalfont, Pennsylvania and surrounding areas including Bucks, Montgomery, Philadelphia, Lehigh, Monroe and Northampton Counties.



© 2017 HighPoint Law Offices | Disclaimer
200 Highpoint Drive, Suite 211, Chalfont, PA 18914
| Phone: 215-997-9773

Estate Planning | Elder Care, Long Term Care and Crisis Planning | Planning for Minor Children | Planning for College-Age Children | Veterans Benefits | Probate and Estate Administration | Special Needs Planning | Business Planning | Workshops | ACE Advantage™ | About Us | Highpoint Institute

FacebookGoogle+

Attorney Website Design by
Zola Creative