Once funeral services for your loved one are completed, you may begin to think about settling the estate. But you certainly don’t want to encounter major delays because you missed something important in the probate process.
Probate is a step-by-step process and each step is important. If something is missed or done incorrectly, the mistake can delay the entire administration process. It is important to anticipate potential obstacles and avoid mistakes to avoid a lengthy administration process.
What are some common pitfalls?
We have seen many instances where someone did not handle their estate duties properly and caused problems for the other heirs. Here are three common pitfalls that we routinely help correct:
Excluded Family Members
It is important that estate representatives complete the administration process in a way that is fair to everyone involved. This means that the heirs should be regularly updated and not excluded from the process. If a family member suspects their rights are being violated, they may decide not to cooperate. A disgruntled family member may even file legal objections to the probate process. A legal case can halt the probate process until the case is resolved.
One of the most common issues arises when someone obtains appointment as estate administrator without obtaining renunciations of all heirs. When a person passes away without a Will, all heirs must sign a document called a Renunciation deferring to a representative. This sometimes happens when there was already distrust between family members. If anyone is skipped, the Register of Wills may require the entire process to be restarted.
Late Inheritance Taxes
Pennsylvania imposes an inheritance tax and requires the filing of an inheritance tax return. This return is due within nine months of the date of death. But if the tax return is not filed and the taxes not paid by the deadline, penalties and interest begin to accrue.
What is a better practice?
There are many more pitfalls which you can encounter in probate. Probate is not simple, and even basic estates can become complex fast. The best practice is to walk through the situation step by step and follow a proven process until it is completed. That is the only way to ensure the administration process is completed without issues.
As a probate law firm for estate executors, we help settle estates efficiently and reduce stress. If you know someone faced with a probate process or roadblocks to an estate property sale, please have them contact us for a free evaluation at:
Phone: (215) 918-4242
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If you are not quite ready for a consultation, download our probate handbook HERE. We’ll send you helpful probate guides and resources so you know how to handle the estate.