When someone dies, with or without a will, his or her estate is submitted to Pennsylvania probate court, where confirmation will be given regarding the validity of the will when one exists. Probate is defined as the legal process of settling an estate and includes the distribution of the assets and properties per the valid will. This legal process is meant to honor the wishes of the deceased, protect the interests of the beneficiaries, and confirm the executor named in the will. If there is no will, the probate court will appoint a personal representative and the estate will be distributed according to Pennsylvania law.

Trusts can be used to avoid probate, to shelter assets from the spouses of an heir or to protect them from lawsuits.  However, a trust is not necessary for everyone, and the expense of a living trust might be unnecessary.

Matters relating to probate and estate administration can be complex.  We represent executors and trustees in all aspects of estate and trust administration.  This highly talented team of lawyers can provide the following services: 

  • Limit liability exposure to beneficiaries and creditors
  • Administer wills and trusts in probate court
  • Assist in avoiding probate when possible
  • Resolve or close estate and trust administrations through informal family settlement agreements or court accounting process
  • Provide estate planning strategies to help keep assets out of probate court
  • Ensure a proper transfer of assets

Executors and trustees face an immense responsibility. Probate, trust, and estate administration can be complex.  If you have been appointed as an executor or trustee, you are now entrusted with significant responsibility.  As the executor or trustee of an estate or trust, there are certain tasks that must be accomplished to ensure that the assets are both managed and distributed properly and according to the law.  If you fail to follow these rules, you may be held personally liable to the beneficiaries. There are specific transfer methods for each type of asset and the appropriate method depends on the type of asset, how it was owned, the named beneficiary, and its value.  Executors and trustees often face other challenges as well, such as creditors’ claims and business lawsuits that threaten an estate.  We have experienced Pennsylvania probate lawyers who provide legal guidance with probate and estate administration to make sure that the estate is properly distributed.

We have been able to help thousands of individuals with estate planning, probate, trusts, and estate administration We focus on educating our clients, providing them with the necessary tools to impart wisdom and strategies to the next generation

If you have been appointed trustee or executor or if your family member’s estate is going through the Pennsylvania probate process, contact our office at (610) 933-8069.

We represent clients in Chester County, Montgomery County, Delaware County, and Lancaster County and in communities such as Philadelphia, Berwyn, Devon, Paoli, Exton, Phoenixville, West Chester, Malvern, Chester Springs, Ardmore, Gladwyne, and surrounding areas.

David M. Frees, III
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Attorney, Speaker and Author