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How long should it take for a lawyer to take care of my mother's last will and testament?

1 Answers. Asked on Feb 16th, 2017 on Wills and Probate - Pennsylvania
More details to this question:
My Mother passed away June 24, 2016. In October, I visited the lawyer's office that helped her draw up her last will and testament, because I was named as the executor. The only assets to be divided amongst my 3 siblings and myself, was the money she obtained from the sale of her home in 2015, which was about $180,000.00. There were no other items, such as a vehicle, furniture, real estate or anything that would hold up the processing of the will. The lawyer told me to write a check to myself and one to him each for $9,000.00. Which I did within the week. That was last November. I've called to inquire about the status and am told by the secretary that she will tell him to 'get this settled.' My emails to him go unanswered. I don't know what is involved in finalizing this but it seems to me that it's taking longer than it should. The will clearly stated that any money left over is to be divided equally among her four children. It seems uncomplicated to me.
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Answered on Feb 16th, 2017 at 7:50 AM

I'm assuming the will was probated.  Maybe the best way to explain this is to run through some typical deadlines.  The first is 90 days after death.  If you make an estimate payment of inheritance tax, you get a 5% discount off the full inheritance tax ultimately payable.  The next deadline is 9 months from death.  That's when the inheritance tax return is due to be filed and full amount of tax paid.  Typically estate administration is not formally closed until the department of revenue reviews the return and issues a notice of its acceptance or any required changes.  That can take up to 6 months or more after the return is filed. So if the return was filed at the 9 month mark, you could take you into September 2016.  If the estate was advertized, creditors have one year from that date to file claims.  February 2017 seems to be outside the normal time frame to administer an estate that you described -- assuming there were no problems.  

I recommend that you seek out a local attorney for a more in depth discussion of the matter. I do not recommend that you take any action steps without such a consult. Act quickly because by waiting, you may lose certain rights and remedies available to you.

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Don't make the mistake of thinking that only the rich, elderly or those with children need a last will and testament--every adult can benefit from an estate plan, including a last will and testament. Wills and probate attorneys can work with you to devise an estate plan that explains how your assets should be distributed after your death. Your lawyers can craft a strategy to reduce estate taxes and help ensure the financial security of your spouse and children. Wills and probate law firms can also guide estate executors through the probate process.
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