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Probate is an essential estate planning term. It applies to a process that is centrally important in the estate administration realm, but not comprehensively understood by all parties who it might eventually affect.

Probate can be summarily defined as the legal process by which a court settles the estate of a deceased individual.

Probate is in many instances a relatively straightforward and unproblematic affair. Conversely, it can also throw up some stark challenges for involved parties, especially when notable obstacles block the path to quick resolution.

Those challenges are prominently noted in one in-depth probate overview, which spotlights select “high-risk factors for probate litigation.” Those range broadly and often focus on things like the following:

  • Decedent’s multiple marriages
  • Siblings and other relatives existing from prior unions
  • Lack of prenuptial agreement
  • Disparate treatment of heirs – especially children – in a will
  • Disputes focused on separate-versus-marital property concerns
  • Decedent’s material changes to estate documents late in life

Even absent complicating circumstances, probate customarily takes time and does have costs associated with its completion.

Individuals and families seeking information about probate and other estate planning strategies should contact an experienced estate planning legal team for guidance.

If you would like more information about the probate process and how it might affect your estate or you are an executor who needs guidance with Pennsylvania’s probate laws, we invite you to contact us at 814-833-2222 to speak with one of our experienced estate planning attorneys.