With Compassion

Top 3 mistakes people make in probate

On Behalf of | May 30, 2024 | Probate

Having to deal with probate soon after losing a loved one can be overwhelming. It’s very easy to make costly mistakes during this time because grief can cloud your judgment.

Luckily, you can learn from mistakes that people in your situation have made in the past. This way, you can streamline the probate process and avoid any further heartache.


One of the greatest mistakes people make is waiting too long to begin probate. While it’s understandable to want some time to grieve, there’s a misconception that probate can be put off indefinitely. This delay can actually create problems:

  • Bills continue to accrue
  • Assets may depreciate
  • Beneficiaries can become impatient

In some cases, creditors may even take legal action to recover what they’re owed.

There’s no timeline for how quickly you should initiate probate in Pennsylvania. However, it’s generally best to consult with a trusted legal team within a reasonable timeframe after a loved one’s passing. They can provide your family with the specifics to get the process started efficiently.

Communication breakdown

Probate can take time, and emotions often run high during this period. One way to avoid unnecessary tension is to maintain clear communication with all beneficiaries. This means keeping them updated on:

  • The progress of the probate process
  • Any potential delays
  • How their inheritance will be distributed

Set up a regular communication schedule with beneficiaries that involves sending periodic updates via email or holding brief meetings to answer questions.

Going it alone

While it may seem tempting to try and handle things yourself, this can be a recipe for disaster. A trusted legal representative can help ensure all legal requirements are met. They can also help ensure the estate is settled fairly and in accordance with the deceased’s wishes.

By staying on the lookout for these common mistakes, you can help ensure a less stressful probate process. Remember, probate doesn’t have to be a burden. With a little planning and the right guidance, you can navigate this legal hurdle and better ensure that your loved one’s legacy is honored.