Reading, PA asked in Estate Planning and Probate for Pennsylvania

Q: Is it normal for a probate to take over a year and half with a will? There are stocks involved but no property.

Something just doesn't feel right with my in laws estate. The mother passed June of 2022 the father in September. They were seperated, so seperate estates. The mother in laws was just sent to the state for taxes, the lawyer said the stocks portion of it were tedious. My wife just had to sign dividend checks for their dad so that tells me the father's stocks have not been taken of yet. Her brother also has not had the father's home apraised yet, is there anything we can do to push this along?? My wife was just diagnosed with cancer and we could really use this money to help pay bills and for medicines. She is afraid to ruffle any feathers with her brother over this, but this just seems to be taking forever.

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1 Lawyer Answer
W. J. Winterstein Jr.
W. J. Winterstein Jr.
  • Probate Lawyer
  • Boyertown, PA
  • Licensed in Pennsylvania

A: Whatever is "normal" is governed, and overridden, by a probated Last Will, with its description of powers of the personal representative/Executor.

The appointed pers rep is charged to ensure that any actions of the Estate work to maximize the distribution to the beneficiaries.

In addition, any creditor of the decedent has one year from the date his death and appointment of pers rep is first published in a newspaper of general circulation in the county where the will is being administered. If an executor/pers rep distributes to heirs prior to that one year date, he can be personally liable for inadequacy of the Estate to pay all creditors in full.

The vagaries of the stock markets, and when it's prime time to sell, are well documented.

So long as an appointed pers rep is complying in timely fashion with the due dates set by statute or court rule, with respect to the Estate, it would be very difficult to unseat him or her, regardless of your personal circumstances.

All that said, your best path is to schedule a conference at your earliest convenience with an experienced PA lawyer about your rights and expectations at this point.

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