ADMINISTERING ESTATES IN SCHUYLKILL COUNTY PENNSYLVANIA

Losing a loved one is hard, and it can become even harder when trying to figure out what to do with their assets and debts. That’s where Schuylkill County probate lawyers such as those at Cornerstone Law Firm can help.

You may have heard about a “short certificate,” which we’ve written about at length here on the website. But short certificates and probate aren’t for everyone. Administering the estate of a loved one is all about making sure the assets go to the proper people and ensuring that any debts are paid off and taken care of. In many estates in Schuylkill County, you can avoid the trip to Pottsville’s Courthouse to formally open probate and can lawfully acquire bank accounts and pay off any bills.

However, in many cases, particularly when there is a house involved, it is necessary to formally open probate and begin the estate administration process. If all of that sounds complicated, here’s the simple way of saying it: someone has to get a Court Order that allows them to sell a loved one’s assets and pay off the bills. That process is known as probate.

Here’s how it works: the process begins by going to Pottsville and filing a petition with the Register of Wills on the 2nd floor of the courthouse. A brief process follows that requires swearing in the Administrator or Executer of the estate and ends with the issuance of the short certificate, which is a brief version of the “Grant of Letters of Administration.”

Once the letters are granted, the Administrator or Executor is permitted to go to banks and close the accounts, gather bills, pay them in the proper order, list any real estate for sale and more.

In Schuylkill County, it is also important to consider the value of real estate based on what township or municipality the real estate is in. Real estate in Mahanoy City, Pottsville, or Tamaqua may be priced differently than real estate in Coaldale or New Philadelphia. Regardless, getting the real estate listed for sale and obtaining the best value for the estate before paying bills and distributing to beneficiaries is best done with a consultation with a probate attorney who can walk you through the process.

Finally, don’t forget that you will need to file an inheritance tax return. This is different from income tax returns and is a process required by the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania. All assets and liabilities will need to be listed, documented and added up to get the amount to be paid in taxes.

If you have lost a loved one who lived in Schuylkill County, call our office and speak with one of our probate attorneys so we can walk you through the next steps of the process and help you maximize the benefits of the estate.