Should you worry about whether your estate will need to go through probate or not in Pennsylvania? For the majority of Pennsylvania residents, probate is not a concern for them or a burden on their family. However, there are times when probate should be avoided. A good estate planning attorney will analyze your situation and determine the appropriate planning strategies.
In general, probate is the process of your executor formally registering your will, hence the office that they go to is named the “Register of Wills.”
Pennsylvania is ahead of the curve in having streamlined the probate process years ago. Other states, notably California and Florida, still require court supervision, thus ratcheting up the costs of probate in those states. In Pennsylvania, the probate fees are reasonable. Yes, an attorney should still be retained by the Executor to ensure the process is handled absolutely correctly. But the cost of probate generally speaking is still far less than it would be in several other states.
Therefore, Pennsylvania is not a “living trust” state where the majority of residents have a revocable living trust rather than a will. Instead, many PA residents use will-based estate plans. That doesn’t mean a living trust never makes sense for PA residents. Sometimes, people who believe they need a “simple will” actually need much more strategic and careful planning. The best advice is to arrange for a consultation with a qualified estate planning attorney.
At our firm, we offer a complimentary 60-minute consultation for estate planning matters. If you wish to have your plan reviewed, or need a plan crafted for your family, we invite you to call our office at (215) 706-0200.