There’s no denying that the death of a loved one brings about sadness, life changes and difficult times. One of the difficulties that a beneficiary or executor will face after losing a loved one is understanding probate and the estate administration process. This is why we put together this video to provide you with some of the basic steps involved in the Pennsylvania probate process.

According to Pennsylvania law, certain things have to take place when a loved one dies. This is known as the probate process, which is part of the estate administration process. Some of the basic steps of this process include:

  1. An executor must find the Last Will and any living trusts. By having a plan in place ahead of time, you will know where these documents are in order to avoid a difficult situation.
  2. An executor can be liable for any mistakes, so make sure you call an estate planning and estate administration attorney for help navigating the probate process.
  3. Bring all important documents to your meeting with a lawyer, such as the will, trust, bank account statements, retirement accounts, life insurance policies, bills and the previous tax returns.
  4. File the Pennsylvania Inheritance Tax return within nine months after your loved one’s death; however, you will get a discount if you file within three months.
  5. The executor has to go to the Register of Wills in the county in which your loved one resided to probate the estate.
  6. An executor has to advertise the estate and send notices to the beneficiaries.
  7. An executor will distribute the assets after a court accounting or an informal family settlement agreement is signed.

Because there are many steps involved in the process—many more than these—you should work with an experienced estate attorney at Unruh, Turner, Burke & Frees. For a consultation, call 610.933.8069 or contact us online at

David M. Frees, III
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Attorney, Speaker and Author