Probate is the post-death process performed by an attorney through the Register of Wills in which the deceased individuals assets are determined and valued, creditors are determined and paid, estate and and inheritance taxes are calculated and paid, with the filing of the requisite tax returns, and the remaining assets are distributed to the decedent's heirs.
As a Pittsburgh attorney, I can help you in following the necessary steps for the probate process:
1. Acknowledgement of a Personal Representative- in this part of the process the Executor or Administrator of the estate is determined.
2. Determining and Locating Assets- This is the initial stage in securing and valuing the decedent's assets.
3. Determining Creditors- Creditors with liens or claims should be paid before any other distributions except administrative expenses.
4. Ascertaining the Values of Assets at Death- This will ultimately determine the tax obligation
5. Publishing Notice- This is to allow any potential creditors to make a claim.
6. Pay Outstanding Bills- Generally, every estate has some outstanding bills at the decedent's death.
7. Filing the tax returns- Final income tax and inheritance tax returns must be filed.
8. Paying the Taxes- This is a priority before distribution to heirs.
9. Final Distribution- The final distribution of the remaining assets are distributed in accordance with the will.