Probate & Estate Administration

When a loved one dies, someone has to handle assets and debts that become part of the individual’s estate.

There are two basic options:

  • There is a Will.

    When someone had a Will, the estate is handled by an executor named in the Will in a process called probate.

  • There is not a Will.

    Otherwise, the process is known as estate administration, with the administrator of the estate named according to Pennsylvania law.

Both involve the court system to some extent, which largely is determined by the complexity of the estate and issues related to it.

There are many situations that arise during this process.

There are situations in which title and ownership of assets, which is the primary purpose of going through any type of administration involving the court system, is unnecessary. For example, an estate plan involving a living trust may avoid such a process, as will property owned jointly with the right of survivorship and assets (such as most life insurance policies) that name beneficiaries.

However, even in those cases, there could be tax issues that have to be handled. Sometimes, there may be decisions that can be made to reduce the amount of taxes due. If you are left to manage the affairs of a loved one who has died, you may find that you need to consult with an attorney who has experience in handling the wide-ranging legal issues that could exist.

Estate Administration: Legal guidance during a time that can be very difficult

When the court needs to be involved so that the estate can be managed and its assets distributed to those who are entitled to receive them, you may be looking at a process that takes a year or longer to complete. During this time, you will face deadlines that the law requires you to meet. The situation can become even more difficult to manage, depending on the size, among other factors, of the estate. In addition, problems such as the contesting of a Will can arise that must be decided by the court directly.

I can help you to get through this process.

You need an attorney who is familiar with the legal issues and process involved and can ease the burden of probate and estate administration for you. This is a time that can be very difficult for reasons that concern loss as well as laws. You can contact me at 412-454-9012 for a consultation about what is involved and how I can assist you in navigating the legal issues that lie ahead.