The passing of a loved one is a difficult time that can be made even more arduous by the estate administration process. A qualified and experienced law firm can take away the stress associated with estate administration by taking on the process for you.
A typical estate administration will consist of presenting a Petition for Probate to the Register of Wills, opening an estate account and marshalling assets to that account, preparing and filing a Pennsylvania Inheritance Tax Return, and making distribution of assets to the estate beneficiaries. There are many requirements that must be met through the process in order to successfully administer an estate.
Probate is the legal process of transferring assets owned by a decedent to the decedent’s estate, and finally to the decedent’s beneficiaries. Many people are concerned with “avoiding probate” because they mistakenly believe that avoiding probate means avoiding Pennsylvania Inheritance Tax. This is not the case. Assets that do not need to go through the probate process, such as jointly–owned accounts and assets held in a Revocable Living Trust, are still subject to the Pennsylvania Inheritance Tax.
The Pennsylvania Inheritance Tax is a tax levied against the estate of someone who passes away in Pennsylvania or who owned real estate in Pennsylvania. The amount of tax that the estate will pay depends on the relationship that the beneficiaries of the estate had with the decedent. Assets passing to a surviving spouse are taxed at 0%; assets passing to the lineal descendants and ascendants of the decedent are taxed at 4 1⁄2%; assets passing to the siblings of the decedent are taxed at 12%; and assets passing to anyone else are taxed at 15%. There are many deductions that can be taken against this tax to lower the amount that an estate owes and thereby pass more wealth to the decedent’s loved ones.