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Avoiding probate court is a goal of many estate plans

One of the primary goals of estate planning is bypassing the probate process. This is a big consideration since probate can take time and money. For most people who are working out an estate plan, it's important to get their loved ones as much as possible and as quickly as they can.

There are many facets of the probate process that are mystifying to people who have never gone through it It is a good idea for all adults to have an understanding of at least the basics so that they know what to expect if they ever face this type of situation.

Time limits and waiting periods in Pennsylvania

Unlike many other states, Pennsylvania doesn't have waiting periods for probate cases. Some states have waiting periods of up to 90 days, so residents of this state fare much better. It is imperative that the estate administrator or personal representative start the process soon after the decedent's death so that everything can be handled expeditiously.

It is possible that the probate process will take longer because of certain factors. For example, if someone contests the will, the process will be halted while the challenge makes its way through the court system. If there are missing heirs or assets, this can make it all take longer, too.

Costs associated with probate

The actual costs of probate vary considerably, but there are some that are common. The filing fees will apply to all cases. There are also notification fees and certain inventory-related fees. The person handling the estate will also need to file the income taxes, which could be another expense. You should find out what costs are associated with the one you are handling so you can plan accordingly.

Factors that can impact probate

Many different things can affect this process. The presence of a will can make it easier. Trusts usually don't require attention by the probate court. People who die without an estate plan, which is known as dying intestate, will force their family members to go through probate. The types of assets in a case can also have an impact on how they are handled. For example, assets in joint ownership won't go through this. Instead, they will be transferred to the surviving party.

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