After a person passes away, it is the charge of the executor to carry out the instructions of the will once it is filed with probate court. This generally happens as soon as the Testator (or person who wrote the will) has passed, and usually the will specifies an executor; otherwise, one is appointed by the court.

If all goes accordingly, the will is first and quickly filed with the local, county, or municipal probate court in which the Testator died or last lived. Anyone in possession of the will may file it with probate court, but often it’s the executor who does so, as the will is often left in the care and possession of the executor.

Some states have laws that demand that anyone in possession of a decedent’s will file it with probate court, so check with a probate attorney to discuss the laws in Pennsylvania.

Listed beneficiaries from a will don’t receive their assets from the estate until after probate has ended; before that happens, the executor must make an inventory of all the assets and the bills of the estate, such as taxes and debts, must first be paid.

How long the probate period takes depends on several things, including:

  • the size of the estate;
  • how many outstanding bills there are; and
  • whether or not anyone files a claim against the estate or disputes any aspects of the will.

Consult a Pennsylvania Attorney About Your Will and Estate

Whether it’s collaborating with your tax advisors, assisting with the filing of Federal Estate and Gift Tax Returns and Pennsylvania Inheritance Tax Returns, or providing services to facilitate the resolution of estate and trust administrations, our firm is dedicated to providing unparalleled and uncompromised service to our clients. Contact a Pennsylvania probate and estate attorney for more information on how the Law Offices of Unruh, Turner, Burke & Frees can help you. Call us today – 1-610-933-8069.


David M. Frees, III
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Attorney, Speaker and Author