Lewistown, PA asked in Probate for Pennsylvania

Q: Is it necessary to file a probate in Pa if there is no estate?

My mother-in-law passed away Dec 28, 2019 with a will naming my wife executrix. She had no estate. She did have over $16,000 of debt. Final expenses were prepaid except grave marker which we will have to purchase. She had less than $700 in the bank. There is no life insurance, property or car. Is my wife required to file probate?

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2 Lawyer Answers
Nina Whitehurst
Nina Whitehurst
PREMIUM
Answered
  • Probate Lawyer
  • Crossville, TN

A: Nobody is ever required to file a probate. Interested parties usually choose to because they need to retitle assets or, if the interested party is a creditor, the interested party wants to get its debt paid. If there are no assets to retitle in your name and you are not a creditor of the estate, then there is no incentive to file probate.

1 user found this answer helpful

Michael Cherewka
Michael Cherewka
Answered
  • Probate Lawyer
  • Wormleysburg, PA
  • Licensed in Pennsylvania

A: There is no requirement that an executor probate a Will if there are no assets (or insufficient assets ) in the potential estate. Creditors can be notified that there are no assets and no estate will be opened. Creditors can tary to open an estate to attempt to collect debts, but if they have been notified that there are not enough assets to even bother opening an estate that is not likely to happen. The money in the bank will eventually escheat to the state and the heirs may be able to recover from the PA Treasury Department.

1 user found this answer helpful

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