Estate Administration

What is the probate process? For many people, Probate is a fearful thing; however, with Estate attorneys at Anderson & Labovitz, the “burden” of probate can be taken off of your shoulders and handled in a smooth, efficient and cost-effective manner.

When an individual passes away, his or her Estate, whether there is a Will or no Will at all, must generally go through probate in order for the estate to be administered. However, there are various caveats that we work through with all of our clients in our very first meeting to try and avoid the lengthy and often costly probate process.

Small Estates

Often times, even though a local bank may state you must probate or you must have a Short Certificate, the probate process can be fully avoided and that bank asset can be transferred to the beneficiaries.

The Probate Process

With respect to decedents’ estates that must be probated, the process can be an onerous one with complicated paperwork that can be difficult to handle on your own.  We know that this is likely a difficult time for you. As your probate and estate law firm, we guide fiduciaries through the probate process, appear in court as required, and implement your family member’s Estate Plan. We will ensure all inventories, accounts, and necessary tax returns are filed properly, so you can focus on comforting your family. We will work to marshal assets, handle creditors with claims, and pass along the inheritance to the beneficiaries in an effort to ensure the Estate Plan is fully accomplished.

Even if your loved one has passed away with a negative or insolvent estate, or in debt, our firm can help you understand your rights and options regarding the estate.

Who to Hire

Some people have the misconception that they must seek out the same lawyer who originally drafted the will. This is not true. The Executor or family members handling an estate can seek counsel from any Pennsylvania licensed Attorney of their choosing.

You can count on us to work closely with you to handle your loved one’s Estate, whether small or large, in an expeditious and cost-effective manner. Call us now at 412-209-3200 or send us an email at to schedule a free, no-obligation conference to assess your needs.


Trust, estate and tax laws are constantly changing. We counsel clients with up-to-date advice in order to properly plan their estates, protect the assets they build over a lifetime, and ensure the family is protected. We are here to help answer any questions you may have and are just a phone call away at 412-209-3200 or feel free to or send us an email at

We charge simple flat fees for the vast majority of the Estate Plans we develop.  We can help start your estate plan with what you can afford. We provide a free consultation to discuss your specific situation and let you know how much it might cost you to find practical solutions with your financial capabilities.

We charge affordable probate fees based upon a suggested sliding scale that decreases as the estate value increases. This helps ensure the fee is always reasonable and not a standard 5% across the board, regardless of value, as is often quoted. Alternatively, we are happy to offer hourly fees or flat fee matters based upon the needs of the Executor.

Well, that depends on your family make-up.  Generally speaking, this is what will happen:

If you do not have a spouse or kids, your parents will inherit your estate.  However, this can be problematic for elderly parents who are looking to spend down their estate in an effort to qualify for medical assistance.  An inheritance received by your parents may disqualify them from services or essentially go straight to a nursing home.

If you are married with no kids, your spouse will get the first $30,000 of your estate and your spouse AND PARENTS will split everything else. Many people think that because they are married that their spouse inherits everything.  However, unfortunately, the law states otherwise.  Your spouse may be left financially strapped or your parents may wind up ineligible for medical assistance.

With no Testamentary Trust in place, the Executor will be forced to go through trust proceedings to either set up a restricted account or a Trust that will hold the money for your children.  By setting up a simple Testamentary Trust, these court proceedings could have been fully avoidable and the funds could have been accessible to benefit the children.

Generally speaking, Yes.  However, often times there are write-offs or deductions which may be taken to minimize the tax consequences.

Pennsylvania is one of six states with an Inheritance Tax or death tax on inherited assets.  Inheritance Tax Returns are necessary even if there is no probate estate.  Inherited IRA’s, Joint assets, and other assets with beneficiary listings are taxed in most circumstances!  Generally, Life Insurance is the only asset for which there is no tax due payable to Pennsylvania.