Dec. 15, 2021

HARRISBURG – Legislation sponsored by Rep. Marci Mustello (R-Butler) to establish that probate assets are to be considered for limitation purposes when filing a small estate petition unanimously passed the House of Representatives today.

House Bill 2016 would make it clear that only probate assets are to be considered when evaluating the $50,000 limitation on small estate petitions. Specifically, the bill states that in addition to real property and property payable, any property not subject to administration as part of a probate estate does not count toward the $50,000 limitation. By removing non-probate assets, an interested party can seek distribution of an estate under a small estate petition so long as the amount of probate assets is less than $50,000.

Under current law, when a person dies domiciled in Pennsylvania owning property less than $50,000, an interested party may file a small estates petition seeking direct approval from the Orphans Court for distribution of the estate. This property does include real estate or property payable relating to payments to family and funeral directors. However, it does not specify if the $50,000 value of the estate limitation applies to both probate and non-probate assets.

“My bill will eliminate ambiguity when evaluating what property in an estate is relevant to determining if distribution is appropriate under a small estate pension,” said Mustello. “By stating that non-probate assets are not to be counted towards the $50,000 limitation for a small estate petition, House Bill 2016 addresses legal questions that can arise when the state features a mixture of significant non-probate assets but relatively minor probate assets.”

The legislation now moves on to the Senate for consideration.

Representative Marci Mustello
11th Legislative District
Pennsylvania House of Representatives

Media Contact: Rick Leiner
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