Thursday, November 3, 2011

How Long is Probate?

Clients often want to know should they set up a trust to avoid probate in Pennsylvania.  Though in some states, you want to avoid probate due to cost and the length of time involved, Pennsylvania does not fall into that category.  However, you still want to understand what the time period for probate might be. 

In Pennsylvania, the inheritance tax is due within 9 months of death.  Of course, you can file earliers.  Upon filing the return with the Register of Wills, you want to generally allow 4-6 months for processing by the Department of Revenue.  The Register of Wills serves as agent for the Department of Revenue.

Generally speaking the overall estate administration for most Pennsylvania estates with any complexity is 12 to 18 months if handled properly.  The clock starts to ticking upon the appointment of the estate administrator/executor.  Sometime that process may cause a delay if there is no Will or a challenge to a named Executor in the Will. 

The final step is a formal or informal accounting of the estate.  If done formally, it could take an additional 2-3 months to get a Hearing on the formal accounting.  If done informally, distribution would occur once all beneficiaries are in agreement with the settlement. 

You want the guidance of an expert attorney in this area.  Contact us at for all your probate needs.

1 comment:

Jacqueline Tindal said...

Wow my mother passed away three years yesterday and I have not done this yet, what is the penalty for not doing it with in the 9 month periord? I will be calling you have to go out of town tomorrow on my return I will need your assistance to get this taken care of and yes I do have a will. and my sisters and brother will sign off if needed.
Thanks for your answer