Our Experienced Probate Lawyers Will Guide You Through The Process

The process of collecting a decedent's assets, paying creditors and distributing the remaining assets to beneficiaries according to the decedent's wishes is known as estate administration. All estates in Pennsylvania must go through probate, the court-supervised process of administering an estate.

If the decedent had a valid will, it probably names a representative to administer the will. This role is known as the "executor" of a will. An executor is not required to hire a lawyer, but due to the complexity of the probate process and the legal liabilities involved, it is wise to work with an experienced estate administration attorney.

If a person dies without a will, a surviving spouse or adult child of the decedent is often named as personal representative. Whether or not your loved one left a will, we will help you file all necessary forms in a timely fashion.

The probate lawyers at Leisawitz Heller handle more than 200 estate administration cases every year. We have extensive experience working with estates of all sizes. We are committed to ensuring accuracy and efficiency while also recognizing the sensitive nature of our work and our clients' need to grieve.

Every Estate Is Unique

The probate process will vary greatly depending upon a number of factors, including the size of the estate, whether the decedent had a valid will and the type of assets that need to be distributed. Not all assets need to go through probate. Property that can skip probate include:

  • Any property, such as a home, car or bank accounts, that was owned in joint tenancy by the decedent with another person
  • Assets for which the decedent designated a beneficiary, such as a life insurance policy or a retirement account
  • Bank accounts the decedent had with pay on death (POD) or transfer on death (TOD) designations
  • Assets the decedent transferred to a living trust

Some Estates Qualify For Simplified Probate

Pennsylvania law states that estates that are valued at $50,000 or less excluding real estate holdings do not have to go through the full probate process. We will assist an executor of an estate that qualifies for Pennsylvania's simplified estate process file a written request with the local orphans' court to bypass many of the steps of the probate process. This will save time and money.

If your family needs help administering an estate in Reading or throughout Berks County and southeastern Pennsylvania, you can trust the experienced attorneys at Leisawitz Heller to help. We have the experience and compassion to make a difficult time a little easier. Call or use our online contact form to schedule a consultation.