When someone dies, his or her family or attorney must file the will with the Register of Wills. It is important to file in the correct county.
Once filed, the probate process will begin. The goal is to finalize the person’s estate by wrapping up all financial details.
Proper documentation provided
The first step of probate is to open the case with the Register of Wills. This will require providing the death certificate, will and any other required documentation accompanying the will and estate documents. The person also must provide their government-issued identification and pay applicable fees.
Appointment of a personal representative
The Bucks County Register of Wills will appoint a personal representative after the filing of a Petition for Grant of Letters. This person is responsible for managing and handling the assets of the deceased, and in many cases, the will or other estate documents will declare who this person should be, which the Register will typically honor. The Register will provide the representative with a Short Certificate. This document allows the person to act on behalf of the deceased and gives him or her legal rights to manage the assets. For example, with the certificate, the personal representative can have access to the deceased’s bank accounts.
Once the Register appoints the personal representative, the probate process can continue. It involves paying debts and distributing assets to the heirs as indicated by the will. If there is no will, the estate still receives a personal representative appointment, and steps continue based on state law.