Wills & Probate

Wills and Probate

Dependable Will and Probate Attorney

Elizabeth A. Bartlow Attorney At Law understands that settling an estate and probating a will after the loss of a loved one can be overwhelming in your time of grief. She will make sure the process goes as quickly and smoothly as possible.
 
Probate administration is the process by which a person’s debts are paid and assets are distributed upon death.
 
An estate with a valid will goes through probate administration while one without a will goes through a process called estate administration. While there are some differences, both processes follow the same general procedures outlined below.
Power of Attorney

Our Office Can

  • Educate the executor or administrator regarding his or her fiduciary responsibilities
  • Probate the will or obtain the appointment of an administrator
  • Advertise the estate and provide notice to beneficiaries and heirs
  • Identify and gather estate assets
  • Pay the estate’s debts and obligations
  • Prepare and file tax returns
  • Prepare a final accounting
  • Assist the executor in distributing the assets in accordance with the wishes of the deceased
Throughout the process, attorney Bartlow will keep the executor informed as to developments, answer questions, and when needed, resolve any problems that arise.

Preparing Wills, Living Wills, and Powers of Attorney

When you discuss your needs with attorney Bartlow, she will listen closely as you describe your family, financial situation, and goal. She will then create the documents and estate vehicles that can help you achieve your goals. A significant event in your life such as marriage, the birth of a child, divorce, or impending retirement should cause you to revisit your estate plan. She can review your estate documents and make necessary changes for a reasonable and affordable fee.
 
Under Pennsylvania law, certain assets may be passed on to your heirs without specifically mentioning them in your will. This can keep those assets out of probate, saving the costs associated with probate and simplifying the task of transferring assets to your heirs after death. These options may all be discussed when you meet with us.

Some Types of Assets That May Be Non-Probate Assets

  • Life insurance - A life insurance policy is a contract with an insurance company that states who will be paid after your death. Because payment of the life insurance proceeds to the named beneficiary is in the contract, there is often no need for the policy to go through probate
  • IRAs, 401(k) accounts, and other tax-deferred retirement plans - The proceeds of these types of accounts can pass directly to the beneficiaries designated in the accounts
  • Real estate - The way in which you title the deed to your property can determine who will receive it, regardless of what your will states. For example, a property that is titled as "joint tenants with right of survivorship" means that the named owners hold title to an asset together. When one of the owners dies, that person's ownership interest automatically passes to the remaining owner or owners
  • Bank accounts, brokerage accounts and mutual fund accounts - Bank accounts and certain other accounts may be titled in a number of ways such as "In Trust for" a named beneficiary. The beneficiary will receive full ownership of the account when the account owner dies

Other Services

  • Probating estates
  • Preparing wills
  • Living wills
  • Powers of attorney
Call for a 
FREE initial consultation.
 717-371-6628
There are advantages of titling assets in such a way as to keep them out of probate. However, in other cases, this is not advisable. Attorney Bartlow can review your situation and recommend your best course of action.
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