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Best Probate Lawyers in Erie

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Alan Natalie, Attorney At Law logo
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Alan Natalie, Attorney At Law

504 State Street, Erie, PA 16501
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  • Trusts
  • Wills
  • Estate Planning
  • Living Trust

Business Description

Alan Natalie, Attorney at Law, has more than 30 years of experience helping people settle the estates of their loved ones. As a probate attorney in Erie, Mr. Natalie assists clients with all aspects of estate administration. This includes litigation and legal disputes that involve non-probate assets and invalid wills. The lawyer serves clients that have been appointed as representatives by assisting with the inventorying of assets and the payment of final estate expenses.

Reputation:

We scour the internet for reviews from well-known resources. Each provider is evaluated based on the quality and quantity of their reviews, their presence on multiple review sites, and their average minimum rating.
4.8
Google
5.0 / 5 (16)
Facebook
5.0 / 5 (16)
Avvo
4.5 / 5 (3)

(+1 additional source)

Professionalism:

We hire mystery shoppers to call our providers anonymously and evaluate them. Providers who respond quickly, answer questions thoroughly, and communicate politely score higher.
5.0
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Bernard Stuczynski Barnett & Lager logo
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Bernard Stuczynski Barnett & Lager

234 West 6th Street, Erie, PA 16507
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  • Estate Planning

Business Description

Bernard, Stuczynski, Barnett, & Lager is a firm with a team of probate lawyers in Erie who have been practicing law since 1985. The attorneys help those charged with administering an estate gather a formal inventory and appraisal of the decedent's assets. The firm also aids clients in the notifying of heirs, beneficiaries, and creditors related to the probated estate. Managing partner Adam Barnett is a member of the Pennsylvania Bar, the Erie County Bar, and the Pennsylvania Association for Justice.

Reputation:

We scour the internet for reviews from well-known resources. Each provider is evaluated based on the quality and quantity of their reviews, their presence on multiple review sites, and their average minimum rating.
4.7
Google
4.5 / 5 (27)
Avvo
5.0 / 5 (6)
Facebook
5.0 / 5 (4)

Professionalism:

We hire mystery shoppers to call our providers anonymously and evaluate them. Providers who respond quickly, answer questions thoroughly, and communicate politely score higher.
5.0
Responsiveness
Friendliness
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Detail
Damon C. Hopkins Attorney & Counselor at Law logo
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Damon C. Hopkins Attorney & Counselor at Law

333 State Street, Erie, PA 16507
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  • Wills
  • Estate Planning
  • Probate
  • Estate Administration

Business Description

Damon C. Hopkins Attorney & Counselor at Law offers legal counsel and representation for individuals and families in Erie. Included in his services is probate administration. He also creates estate plans, taking into account various factors such as clients' charitable intentions, retirement benefits developments, and life insurance plans. In addition, Hopkins guides clients in the process of valuing and distributing assets. The attorney, who has been practicing since 1995, also represents injury victims and divorce law clients.

Reputation:

We scour the internet for reviews from well-known resources. Each provider is evaluated based on the quality and quantity of their reviews, their presence on multiple review sites, and their average minimum rating.
4.9
Avvo
4.9 / 5 (9)

Professionalism:

We hire mystery shoppers to call our providers anonymously and evaluate them. Providers who respond quickly, answer questions thoroughly, and communicate politely score higher.
5.0
Responsiveness
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Detail
Gregory L. Heidt, Attorney At Law logo
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Gregory L. Heidt, Attorney At Law

502 Parade Street, Erie, PA 16507
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  • Trusts
  • Wills
  • Estate Planning
  • Living Trust
  • Probate Litigation

Business Description

Gregory L. Heidt Attorney at Law has served the community since 1975. Mr. Heidt is an estate planning attorney in Erie that works with grieving families to address legal concerns that commonly accompany the probate or estate administration process. If family members of the decedent do not agree on a course of action, the attorney is prepared to offer litigation services. He also drafts trusts and durable power of attorney documents.

Reputation:

We scour the internet for reviews from well-known resources. Each provider is evaluated based on the quality and quantity of their reviews, their presence on multiple review sites, and their average minimum rating.
4.5
Google
5.0 / 5 (3)
Yelp
3.0 / 5 (2)
FindLaw
5.0 / 5 (2)

(+1 additional source)

Professionalism:

We hire mystery shoppers to call our providers anonymously and evaluate them. Providers who respond quickly, answer questions thoroughly, and communicate politely score higher.
5.0
Responsiveness
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Detail
Los Scales Elder Law logo
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Los Scales Elder Law

1001 State Street, Erie, PA 16501
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  • Estate Planning

Business Description

Los Scales Elder Law is a legal firm in Erie that represents individuals and families in probate administration and estate planning matters. When probate is required to settle an estate, the firm's attorneys assist clients in determining probate and non-probate assets, calculating estate taxes, and managing asset distribution. Estate planning services the firm provides include preparation and drafting of last wills and living wills, setting up trusts to preserve assets, and preparing powers of attorney agreements and medical directives.

Professionalism:

We hire mystery shoppers to call our providers anonymously and evaluate them. Providers who respond quickly, answer questions thoroughly, and communicate politely score higher.
4.0
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Detail
––
MacDonald, Illig, Jones & Britton, LLP logo
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MacDonald, Illig, Jones & Britton, LLP

100 State Street, Erie, PA 16507
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  • Trusts
  • Estate Planning

Business Description

MacDonald, Illig, Jones, & Britton LLP is a team of civil litigation and estate planning attorneys in Erie that has a history going back over 100 years. The firm has experience with a number of probate and estate planning matters, including those involving business succession, powers of attorney, and taxes. Its team works to verify the will's authenticity and honor the decedent's last wishes. Additional practice areas include education, construction, and real estate law.

Reputation:

We scour the internet for reviews from well-known resources. Each provider is evaluated based on the quality and quantity of their reviews, their presence on multiple review sites, and their average minimum rating.
4.3
Google
5.0 / 5 (3)
Facebook
5.0 / 5 (2)

Professionalism:

We hire mystery shoppers to call our providers anonymously and evaluate them. Providers who respond quickly, answer questions thoroughly, and communicate politely score higher.
4.0
Responsiveness
Friendliness
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Detail
––
Marsh Schaaf Attorneys logo
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Marsh Schaaf Attorneys

300 State Street, Suite 300, Erie, PA 16507
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  • Trusts
  • Wills
  • Estate Planning
  • Probate
  • Probate Administration

Business Description

Marsh Schaaf Law Firm is the present name of an office representing families, businesses, and individuals in Erie since 1897. Its estate and trust lawyers team aims to conserve family wealth during transfer and minimize loss from taxes by monitoring tax law changes and adjusting estate plans accordingly. Clients are assisted with wills, estate valuation freezing plans, charitable giving programs, and probate administration. The firm also represents persons during audits and with the IRS when necessary.

Reputation:

We scour the internet for reviews from well-known resources. Each provider is evaluated based on the quality and quantity of their reviews, their presence on multiple review sites, and their average minimum rating.
4.5
Google
4.7 / 5 (22)
Yelp
1.0 / 5 (1)

Professionalism:

We hire mystery shoppers to call our providers anonymously and evaluate them. Providers who respond quickly, answer questions thoroughly, and communicate politely score higher.
5.0
Responsiveness
Friendliness
Helpfulness
Detail
Martone & Peasle Attorneys at Law logo
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Martone & Peasle Attorneys at Law

150 West Fifth Street, Erie, PA 16507
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  • Probate

Business Description

Martone & Peasle Attorneys at Law is a family law firm that has been serving clients in Erie and the surrounding areas for almost four decades. It offers legal assistance in probate and estates, wills, incapacitated guardianships, and minor guardianships. Joseph P. Martone, one of the founding members of the law firm, has 39 years of experience in family law. He is an author and speaker on family matters and has been an adjunct professor of family law at Gannon University since 1986.

Reputation:

We scour the internet for reviews from well-known resources. Each provider is evaluated based on the quality and quantity of their reviews, their presence on multiple review sites, and their average minimum rating.
3.8

Professionalism:

We hire mystery shoppers to call our providers anonymously and evaluate them. Providers who respond quickly, answer questions thoroughly, and communicate politely score higher.
5.0
Responsiveness
Friendliness
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Detail
Orton & Orton Attorneys at Law logo
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Orton & Orton Attorneys at Law

68 East Main Street, North East, PA 16428
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  • Wills
  • Estate Planning

Business Description

Orton & Orton, Attorneys at Law, serves the community of Erie with estate planning and administration services. With over 50 years of combined experience, the firm's attorneys provide guidance in managing and distributing assets, delegating powers of attorney, and establishing living wills. It also practices family, real estate, and business law. G. Christopher Orton, the firm's partner, guides clients in commercial lending transactions.

Reputation:

We scour the internet for reviews from well-known resources. Each provider is evaluated based on the quality and quantity of their reviews, their presence on multiple review sites, and their average minimum rating.
4.2
Google
4.2 / 5 (6)

Professionalism:

We hire mystery shoppers to call our providers anonymously and evaluate them. Providers who respond quickly, answer questions thoroughly, and communicate politely score higher.
5.0
Responsiveness
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Helpfulness
Detail
Steadman Law Office, P.C. logo
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Steadman Law Office, P.C.

24 Main Street East, Girard, PA 16417
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  • Estate Planning

Business Description

Steadman Law Office PC has operated near Erie for over 40 years. The attorneys practice several fields of law, including probate and estate administration. Steadman Law Office provides support as clients file wills, pay estate taxes, and distribute assets to heirs. The lawyers also take care of public notices that must be published to advertise executor appointments. Owner Jim Steadman is the former president of the Erie County Bar Association.

Reputation:

We scour the internet for reviews from well-known resources. Each provider is evaluated based on the quality and quantity of their reviews, their presence on multiple review sites, and their average minimum rating.
4.3
Google
4.0 / 5 (12)
Facebook
5.0 / 5 (4)

Professionalism:

We hire mystery shoppers to call our providers anonymously and evaluate them. Providers who respond quickly, answer questions thoroughly, and communicate politely score higher.
5.0
Responsiveness
Friendliness
Helpfulness
Detail
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Frequently Asked Questions

What does a probate attorney do?

Probate attorneys are licensed professionals who represent executors and heirs after someone has died. They provide personalized legal advice, assist with tax planning, settle debts, and facilitate the distribution of assets. Probate attorneys typically represent clients during administrative proceedings overseen by probate courts, although some litigators focus on handling disputes and lawsuits related to contested estates.

What is probate court?

Probate court works with the family or beneficiaries of a deceased person to validate their last will and testament. The courts review the individual's will to identify and calculate assets, pay off remaining debts, and distribute the remaining property to beneficiaries per the deceased person's requests. Depending on state laws, property valued under a certain amount may not require probate.

How long do you have to file probate after death?

The amount of time loved ones have to file a will after a person dies varies from state to state. While California courts require probate to be filed within one year, New York has no deadline. That being said, it's advisable to file probate as quickly as possible once a person has died, as the process itself can take anywhere from a few weeks to more than a year.

Does life insurance go through probate?

Life insurance doesn't need to go through the probate courts if the deceased individual has named a beneficiary on their policy. However, life insurance policies without beneficiaries, or with beneficiaries who are either deceased themselves or cannot be contacted, go directly to the deceased individual's estate. When this happens, life insurance proceeds must go through probate court to determine how funds should be allocated.

Do household items go through probate?

While the exact rules do vary from state to state, most household items don't require probate and are automatically left to immediate families unless otherwise stated in the deceased person's will. When it comes to property, only items above a certain value or held in title are required to go through probate in most states.

Do bank accounts with beneficiaries have to go through probate?

In the event a beneficiary has been named, bank accounts are not required to go through probate and will be paid directly to the person designated by the deceased individual. However, should that individual be deceased themselves or if contact cannot be made after a certain period of time, funds will be allocated to the estate and put through the probate process.

What happens if no probate is filed?

Depending on the circumstances, probate may not be required in all cases. If a person passes on and their remaining property is jointly owned, it automatically transfers to the other owner. However, if a property is not jointly owned and no probate has been filed, the executor of the will won't be able to transfer titles or cash assets to beneficiaries. Be aware that the specific laws surrounding probate requirements vary from state to state.

What is probate real estate?

Probate real estate is the process that happens when a realtor steps in to handle the sale or transfer of a deceased person's owned home to another individual. In some cases, the house is sold as a means of liquidating assets, and proceeds from the sale are used to pay debts or are distributed to beneficiaries.

Can I probate a will or estate without an attorney?

It is possible to probate a will and close an estate without hiring an attorney. However, it requires multiple steps and an understanding of the law. The first step is to petition the court to appoint a representative for the estate. Next, the executor must notify all heirs and creditors before switching ownership from the decedent to the estate. Once all debts, taxes, and final expenses have been paid, funds can be transferred to heirs. To close an estate, the executor must submit a report showing the court that all obligations and final wishes have been satisfied. While a will and estate may seem straightforward, things can get complicated quickly if multiple heirs are involved, or if disputes or disagreements arise over distribution. A probate lawyer can help navigate these disputes effectively, and take pressure off the executor when beneficiaries aren’t getting along.

How many years can an estate remain in probate?

If the will or proposed distribution of property is contested, an estate may remain in probate for several years. The timeline depends on how long relatives have to initiate probate, how long creditors have to come forward, and how busy the courts are. In some states, such as Florida, relatives have just 10 days to initiate probate, and the entire process takes approximately six months. In other areas, such as Massachusetts, the process can last one to two years, although the majority of probate activities occur in the first nine months. The value of the estate also affects the duration of the case. For example, California and Texas have simplified procedures for smaller estates, such as those valued at $150,000 or less.

When is a will's probate an automatic process?

Probate is the legal process of validating a last will and testament to ensure that the decedent's wishes are followed. A probate judge may automatically clear wills if they're accompanied by an affidavit from the decedent, a notary, and a witness. Some assets, including financial accounts with designated beneficiaries, and funds held by certain types of trusts don't have to go through probate.

What does it mean when property is under probate?

Real estate that's under probate is typically liquidated through the court system, which is most common when someone dies without a will. Home buyers who are interested in this type of property must follow special rules regarding deposits, which are sometimes nonrefundable, and buyer's premiums. Additionally, the court must approve the purchase price.

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