Jeffrey Johnson is a legal writer with a focus on personal injury. He has worked on personal injury and sovereign immunity litigation in addition to experience in family, estate, and criminal law. He earned a J.D. from the University of Baltimore and has worked in legal offices and non-profits in Maryland, Texas, and North Carolina. He has also earned an MFA in screenwriting from Chapman Univer...

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UPDATED: Jul 10, 2018

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When a Pennsylvania resident dies, their property and assets (collectively known as the “estate”) are subject to Pennsylvania probate laws that dictate their collection and distribution. There are many factors involved in the Pennsylvania probate system, including estate size, value, and complications such as number and type of heirs. Luckily, it is easy to navigate the Pennsylvania probate courts on your own. Here’s what you need to know to do it yourself.

Bypassing Pennsylvania Probate

Probate in Pennsylvania is handled by each county’s Orphan’s Court. However, some property can bypass Pennsylvania probate altogether, eliminating the need for Orphan’s Court filings and time-sensitive documentation. Such property includes jointly-held homes, vehicles, and bank accounts, in addition to living trusts that lay out a clear beneficiary.

Additional Pennsylvania Probate Resources

Pennsylvania Orphan’s Court Forms

Pennsylvania Probate Law

Adams
Alleghany
Armstrong
Beaver
Bedford
Berks
Blair
Bradford
Bucks
Butler
Cambria
Cameron-Elk
Carbon
Centre
Chester
Clarion
Clearfield
Clinton
Columbia-Montour
Crawford
Cumberland
Dauphin
Delaware
Elk
Erie
Fayette
Forest-Warren
Franklin
Fulton
Greene
Huntingdon
Indiana
Jefferson
Juniata
Lackawanna
Lancaster
Lawrence
Lebanon
Lehigh
Luzerne
Lycoming
McKean
Mercer
Mifflin
Monroe
Montgomery
Montour-Columbia
Northampton
Northumberland
Perry
Philadelphia
Pike
Potter
Schuylkill
Snyder-Union
Somerset
Sullivan
Susquehanna
Tioga
Union
Vendango
Warren-Forest
Washington
Wayne
Westmoreland
Wyoming
York

Also, see our article on Pennsylvania Probate Procedure