Probate Pitfalls Avoided for Surviving Son

Case Study


The passing of a loved one is very difficult for a family. Sometimes a loved one’s end-of-life phase is a long struggle for those who provided care and support during the aging process. Our beloved client found himself in that very situation with the care of his mother. Our client’s mother fought a long and difficult battle with cancer before her eventual passing. Both he and his siblings cared greatly for her wellbeing but were exhausted after a two-year struggle.


It was our client who stepped forward to handle the legal and financial issues for the family after the funeral. He knew that his mother had a Will, but the original was lost. The surviving beneficiaries also had many questions. Who would serve as the estate representative? What should be done with the residence and rental properties? Would the representative or beneficiaries have to go to court? How long would probate take?


Our client came to our office to gain clarity and direction for what to do next. We assessed the situation and determined that most of the assets would go through probate. This was because the assets were titled in the mother’s name and had never been moved to a trust or business entity. But our client soon learned that Pennsylvania probate does not have to be a difficult process when the estate is properly managed.


It is true that there are many pitfalls and potential delays in the probate process. Many of these delays are caused when key steps are missed or by making tax-related mistakes. In this case, we efficiently administered the estate for our client and avoided unnecessary delays. Although the original Will was lost, our client found a scanned copy of the Will in his email. Using the copy, we successfully petitioned the court to admit the copy of the Will into probate. Our inventory process was used to submit a formal Inventory of the estate’s assets to the Register of Wills. We also advised our client which assets could be excluded from probate because they were jointly titled or exempt by contract rules.


After our client was appointed the Executor of the estate and the initial filings were submitted, we then filed a Pennsylvania inheritance tax return. The tax return accounted for all the deductions we could find for the estate, which provided a major discount on the tax.


The last phase of our administration was liquidation and distribution of the assets according to the terms of the Will. Before distribution was made, all the beneficiaries signed a Family Settlement Agreement agreeing to the distribution. The agreement released our client from liability and gave clarity to the heirs on how the funds were distributed.


Our client saved time and money, but more importantly he avoided stress and uncertainty. 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 

Send Us an Email


If you are not quite ready for a consultation, download our complementary probate handbook HERE. We’ll send you helpful probate guides and resources so you know how to handle the estate.


Disclaimer: While we’re proud of our past victories, please note that past results are not indicative of future results and each case is unique.