Proving and authenticating wills during probate remains largely uncommon among seniors in Pennsylvania because a lot of people have no will in the first place. Additionally, very few seniors have solid plans about their estates and how they will be divided among their loved ones. An estate doesn’t have to go through probate, but some assets need this process for them to be legally passed down to heirs.
Where does probate apply?
Probate can be carried out with or without a will. When a person dies with no will but has property, probate will be needed to legally distribute these assets under intestacy law.
Probate and long-term care
As a person approaches old age, there often comes the point where he or she will need assistance to do basic things like getting up and dressing. Many seniors will eventually need long-term care, which can be costly, especially if it’s out of pocket.
Depending on the needs of the senior, they may not be able to cover these costs. If they have no long-term care insurance, they might have to pay out of pocket. Another option is qualifying for Medicaid, but the senior will have to adhere to all the strict asset and income guidelines.
Medicaid can cater to a person’s long-term care bills. However, when the senior passes on, the state may attempt to reimburse these costs from the person’s assets and accounts. During the probate process, this issue will come up. Estate administration will require that before the property is passed down to any heirs, all debts, bills and expenses need to be settled first.
The probate process may seem complicated, but it is mostly about ensuring that all a person’s debts are paid after they pass, and any remaining assets can go to the person’s heirs. A probate attorney may help an individual make plans for their estate to ensure that property is passed down to the right heirs and that loved ones do not have to worry about remaining debts from long-term care.
To learn more, visit our Estate Planning and Probate page.
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