In Pennsylvania, executors have a duty to pay all debts prior to distributing assets to the beneficiaries. Normally, creditors may file a lawsuit against a party prior to the expiration of the statute of limitations, which runs for several years (for example, a breach of contract claim has a 4-year statute of limitations). As executors usually wish to finalize the estate and beneficiaries seek their inheritances well in advance, Pennsylvania has provisions to shorten the statute of limitation period for estates.
Once an estate is opened, an executor may advertise the estate in two periodicals. One must be in the legal newspaper in the county where the decedent resided. For example, you must advertise in the Bucks County Law Reporter or Philadelphia Legal Intelligence. Additionally, the other needs to be in a newspaper of general circulation. These advertisements must be published once per week for three weeks. Once this is done, the statute of limitations is shortened to one-year from the last date of advertising.