In PA, Probate is the process of proving a Will at your local Register of Wills Office after death.  The named Executor in the Will or proponent of the Will must present an original, executed copy of the Will to the local Register of Wills, along with a petition for the grant of letters testamentary, an original death certificate, a completed Estate Information Sheet, and a fee to the Register of Wills for the estimated probate fees.  If a person dies without a Will, then that person is said to have died intestate.  State laws determine who has priority to being appointed an administrator of an intestate person’s estate.

There are many duties, responsibilities and deadlines to meet once an Executor or Administrator is appointed by the Register of Wills.  This is called Estate Administration.  Among many things, Executors or Administrators have to give notice to beneficiaries, file various tax returns, file an Inventory, advertise their appointment, and provide an accounting to the beneficiaries.  They gather up the assets, prioritize creditors, pay the debts, taxes and administration expenses, and provide an accounting and schedule of distribution to the beneficiaries.