General Intake Unit

Probate, Wills & Estates

When a person dies and has left behind assets such as property or cash, an estate must be created by a personal representative to handle the person's assets and take care of settling the person's affairs. This is called the probate process, and can be complicated to navigate.

PLA provides advice and referrals for clients who need help probating an estate in Philadelphia County. For example, we can advise you on what your responsibilities are if you are the personal representative for someone’s estate. In some cases, we can make a referral to Philly VIP to see if you can be matched with a free private attorney for direct assistance with the probate process.

In addition, PLA provides legal advice to clients who wish to draft a will or have questions about wills and estates.  In some cases we are able to make a referral to Philly VIP, to see if you can be matched with a free private attorney who will prepare a will for you.

In the probate process, also called the estate administration process, the person who died is the decedent. One of the first things to figure out when starting the probate process is if the decedent died with a will. If the decedent died with a will, the personal representative is called an Executor and is named in the will. The will should also include information about who the heirs to the estate are and what assets they should be given. If the decedent died without a will, the personal representative is called an Administrator and will be named at the beginning of the probate process. The heirs to an estate without a will are determined by the law of intestate succession.

To begin the probate process, the personal representative will need to go to the Register of Wills and provide various forms of documentation about the decedent’s estate. The required forms you need to file with the Register of Wills will depend on if the decedent died with or without a will.

For more information on the probate process, please read Philly VIP’s self-help probate guide.

Intake Process

General Intake Hotline

Monday through Thursday from 9:30 a.m. to 12 p.m. at 215-981-3800.

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