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I am the Executor of my loved one’s estate, do I really need an attorney?


An attorney is not required to probate an estate in Pennsylvania, but if you have never done this before, there can be a lot of questions. There are various documents that must be filed as part of the probate process and deadlines to meet. An experienced attorney can help you navigate these issues, but people can certainly try to handle it on their own. There can be fines and penalties for missing deadlines, so a thorough understanding of the estate administration process can be a huge help. Most executors are also dealing with the loss of a loved one, so relying on an attorney for advice and assistance with the procedural documents can allow you to handle the emotional aspects of a death.


Will I have to pay taxes if I receive an inheritance?


Pennsylvania is an inheritance tax state, which means that property that is inherited is typically subject to tax. The tax rate depends on the relationship between the beneficiary and the person who passed away. Spouses are taxed at 0%, children and parents at 4.5%, siblings at 12% and anyone else is taxed at 15%. There are exceptions to this rule, such as life insurance is typically non-taxable, and others. A Pennsylvania Inheritance Tax Return must be filed 9 months after the date of death. An attorney can assist you with preparing this document and ensuring all appropriate taxes are filed.


In addition to PA Inheritance Tax, if the estate is large enough, there may also be federal estate tax. The federal estate tax limit for 2023 is $12.9 million, so unless your estate is worth more than this, you don’t have to worry.

Legal disclaimer: The information provided in these FAQs is for general informational purposes only and is not intended as a substitute for personal legal advice. The law changes frequently and varies from jurisdiction to jurisdiction. Further, legal advice cannot be given without full consideration of all relevant information relating to an individual’s specific situation. No attorney-client relationship is formed, nor should any such relationship be implied.

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