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Probate Attorney in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania

Kim A. Bodnar is an experienced probate attorney in Pittsburgh, PA. If someone you love has passed away, you need to speak with a lawyer that can help you to sort through the estate, review the will, and get the assets distributed. If you need help call Kim A. Bodnar, I work with clients throughout Pennsylvania and am experienced at navigating through the court system so that estates can be resolved as quickly as possible.

Many people are unaware that probate is a process most estates have to go through. Even when the will is in place, probate is required so that debtors can make a claim before everything is distributed. Creditors have a set time frame in which to file a claim before they are no longer able to do so. Once that time has passed, assets can safely to given to the heirs. People throughout the 15219 area can still benefit from having a will because, without one, the government will decide what happens to your assets. With one, your heirs will still go through probate but your wishes will be followed to a large degree.

Dealing with Debts

At Kim A. Bodnar, Attorney at Law, I work with clients that are concerned about the debts associated with the estate. In Pennsylvania, it is important to understand the state laws prior to disbursing any assets. Creditors have the right to make a claim against the estate, and if there are more debts than there are assets, there is a specific order that they need to be paid in. Even if you are making payments in good faith, you could be accidentally breaking the law by paying the wrong ones.

Tax Issues

Depending on the size of the estate and heirs, taxes may be old. Kim A. Bodnar can give you advice on whether or not taxes are likely to be due. The majority of estates don’t have to pay any federal estate taxes but if it looks like the estate is nearing the threshold, it is important to consult an attorney right away so that you can avoid giving up more for the estate than you have to.

Worried About Probate?

Preventing the Need for Probate

If you create a living trust and transfer assets into it, you can prevent the need for your heirs to go through probate court. With Kim A. Bodnar, Attorney at Law, I can help with estate planning so that you can create a trust that protects your assets so that when you die, everything is immediately transferred to your heirs according to your wishes. This will also prevent the need to go through probate in multiple states if you own property outside of Pennsylvania. Planning ahead can save your heirs from going through a difficult experience later on.

Additionally, there are other assets that can be transferred outside of probate or “operation of law”. This includes a life insurance policy or a retirement account with a named beneficiary. Other assets that are held in joint tenancies or with rights of survivorship can transfer directly. Some banks will also offer accounts that are Payable Upon Death. The ownership of these accounts immediately transfers to your designated heir upon your death. Just make sure that they are aware of the account and have the information necessary to go and collect the funds. You will still be able to use the account like normal and Kim A. Bodnar can provide further advice for how to set this up.

Contested Estates

If no will is in place, the family has to agree either on how to distribute the assets or go to court. Even if a will does exist there are times when heirs fight over how to divide the assets because they don’t agree with the terms of the will. In this situation, a probate attorney is needed to handle the case. With Kim A. Bodnar, Attorney at Law, I work with clients that are disputing a will and those that want to protect the wishes of the deceased. This is perhaps the most common reason for needing a probate attorney.

Understand that this can be a lengthy and costly process that can drain the estate of its assets, so it is wise to carefully consider whether or not you want to proceed. Kim A. Bodnar can meet with you to discuss your options including the potential risks and rewards so that you can make an informed decision on how to proceed. If you would be required to present to the orphan's court located in 15219, I can also let you know what to expect.


With Kim A. Bodnar, Attorney at Law, I recommend hiring a probate attorney to get through the process because if you make any mistakes while distributing the assets you will be personally liable. Even if you fail to disclose something or to send a document as you should, you could get into trouble. For help with the process, call probate attorney Kim A. Bodnar.

Other Issues

If a person dies and the estate or a large portion of it, is left to a minor child, a legal guardian will need to be appointed for them and the estate until they reach adulthood. One way to address this issue is to create a trust that holds the assets and dictates how the assets are to be spent. This way the assets within the estate don’t need to go through probate and the only issue that needs to be resolved is the legal guardianship of a minor child which is outlined already in the will. In the 15219 area, the court has to approve your request for who takes care of your child but they typically will go along with your wishes as long as they feel it is in the child’s best interest.

Those concerned with privacy should try to avoid the probate process by creating a trust. At the Kim A. Bodnar, Attorney at Law, I work with a lot of clients that want to keep the details of their assets private. When a family goes to the probate court, the details of the will are made public. Kim A. Bodnar will work to make the process go as smoothly as possible, but preventing public disclosure is difficult in Pennsylvania.

Kim A. Bodnar, Attorney at Law located in Pittsburgh, PA.

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