What are the state laws and rules that govern probate and estate matters?

The laws governing probate and estate matters are state specific. Estate proceedings in Pennsylvania are governed by the following laws and rules:

  • Probate, Estates and Fiduciaries Code (PEF Code) (20 Pa.C.S. §§ 101 to 8815)
  • Inheritance and Estate Tax Act (72 P.S. §§ 9101 to 9196)
  • Pennsylvania Supreme Court Orphans’ Court Rules (Pa.O.C. Rules 1.1 to 16.12)

In addition to the above laws and rules, each county may adopt its own local rules regulating the practice and procedure within that county (see, for example, Lackawanna County Orphans’ Court Rules). Each probate matter presents its own unique issues and potential pitfalls; thus, the Executor or Administrator must follow these laws and rules to avoid personal liability.