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Probate Attorney in Pittsburg, Pennsylvania

When a person dies, some or all of their remaining assets will have to go through probate, the legal process through which a deceased person’s estate affairs are handled. In the midst of grief, families are often wondering where to turn and how to navigate the complex process of managing someone else’s estate.

The Law Offices of Kelton M. Burgess, LLC provides clarity, guidance, and practical solutions throughout the probate process when you need it most. We rely on a foundation of sincerity and keep our clients’ best interests at the forefront of every case. We proudly serve individuals and families throughout the greater Pittsburgh area and surrounding counties.

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What Is Probate?

Probate is the legal process that takes place after someone’s death. It includes:

  • Proving in court that a deceased person's will is valid

  • Identifying and inventorying the deceased person's property

  • Having the property appraised

  • Paying debts and taxes

  • Distributing the remaining property as the will directs (or state law if there's no will)

Not everything that a person possesses will need to be probated. In general, assets that do not have a designated beneficiary will need to be included in the probate process. Common probate items include:

  • Individual bank, brokerage, or investment accounts

  • Individually-owned real estate (homes, vacation property, land, etc.)

  • Individually-owned vehicles (cars, trucks, motorcycles, recreational vehicles, etc.)

  • Personal property (jewelry, art, collectibles, guns, etc.)

In an ideal world, a decedent’s assets would be passed along in a simple, peaceful way, but this does not always happen. Disputes commonly arise in relation to the distribution of assets. Who gets what and what gets probated can quickly turn into a family nightmare. This is where an experienced probate attorney and proper estate planning can help protect your interests while maintaining family order. 

The Probate Process

At a fundamental level, the probate process involves two steps: paying debts and transferring assets to beneficiaries.

Probate begins with the court appointing someone to handle the estate’s administration. This person is called the personal representative. In many cases, the decedent will have already named their estate’s personal representative in a will. If this has not happened, the court will appoint one.

He or she must:

  1. Assemble all the decedent's assets

  2. Pay outstanding bills (funeral expenses, taxes, and other administration expenses)

  3. Distribute any assets that are leftover

Once completed, the personal representative must supply a detailed account of these transactions to the court in order to close the estate. If you have been chosen as the personal representative for an estate, you should not wait to reach out to our firm for legal support.

The Law Offices of Kelton M. Burgess, LLC is equipped with the knowledge and experience required to help clients navigate through the probate process.

Probate in Pennsylvania

Probate in Pennsylvania can either be “supervised” or “independent.” 

  • Supervised probate means that court approval will be required for just about any action taken by the personal representative. This can reduce the liability held by the personal representative since the judge will be the one approving everything. 

  • Independent administration means that you and your attorney will have less supervision. This can lead to faster and smoother administration. Though the judge doesn’t approve every action of the personal representative, the representative is more likely to be held responsible for any actions taken.

The main difference between supervised and independent administration is the level of court supervision required in each case. While independent administration offers a lot of freedom, it is often advisable to work with an experienced probate attorney to avoid liability and costly mistakes.

Probate Attorney Serving Pittsburg, Pennsylvania

You do not have to handle the loss of a loved one on your own. Hiring a Pittsburg probate attorney ensures you have an experienced legal advisor on your side that safeguards the process from start to finish. Contact The Law Offices of Kelton M. Burgess, LLC today to schedule a consultation about the estate. We serve clients in and throughout the greater Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, area, and surrounding counties.