Probate Timeline in Cranberry Township

When a close family member passes away, the court process that determines how their property is distributed is known as probate. This procedure can be long and complicated, especially when beneficiaries or other interested parties challenge a will.

Understanding the probate timeline in Cranberry Township can be beneficial for anyone tasked with administering an estate. While the prospect of handling these court proceedings might seem overwhelming, a skilled probate attorney could help with each of the following steps.

Appointing an Executor

The timeline of probate begins when beneficiaries or family members in Cranberry Township open the estate. The person appointed as the executor can also handle this matter. Before the case can move forward, the court must formally appoint someone in that role to oversee everything.

Often, the decedent will have named an executor in their last will and testament. The court will generally honor these appointments if the person is willing to serve. In cases where there is no will, the court often appoints a family member. The person selected receives documents known as Letters of Testamentary that empower them to oversee the assets of the estate.

Authenticating the Will

One of the most important questions in the Cranberry Township probate process is whether the decedent had a last will and testament. Even if there is a will, its authenticity must be accepted by the court before the executor can move forward.

A judge will look at whether the formalities were met, including a notarized document containing the signatures of the decedent and their witnesses. Steps can be taken to authenticate a will even if it was not witnessed.

Sending Notices

Another important probate step comes before estate asset distribution in Cranberry Township, and it involves providing notice to all interested parties. This goes beyond just notifying potential beneficiaries, as the creditors and other interested parties to the will are also entitled to notice.

The law sets out how these notifications should be made. In addition to providing beneficiaries with copies of the will and the details of probate proceedings, executors must also publish legal notifications in local papers. These publications are designed to inform potential creditors of the court case.

Assessing Assets and Paying Debts

The executor must next look carefully into the assets held by the estate. Once this property is collected, they must consider any debts and obligations of the decedent. This could be anything from standard creditors to unpaid taxes. Only after these payments are made can the remainder be passed on to the beneficiaries in Cranberry Township and the probate process continue.

Distribution and Accounting

Finally, probate in Cranberry Township concludes with the distribution of all assets to the beneficiaries. This is either done according to the will or by state law if a will was not created. In addition to making these final payments, the executor must also submit a final accounting to the court the sets out everything that was done on behalf of the estate.

Ask an Attorney About Probate Length in Cranberry Township

While the timeline is the same in every case, the way these circumstances play out are often very different. It is helpful to have experienced legal counsel guide you through the probate timeline in Cranberry Township. Call today to discuss your legal options with an attorney.