Estate administration is the process during which the estate of a person who has recently died is maintained and divided among his or her heirs or beneficiaries. This normally happens according to the instructions in a will, but in case there is no will, there are laws governing that situation, as well.
If the decedent (the person who died) left a will, the process of estate administration in Cheltenham Pennsylvania will normally be carried out according to the instructions in the will.
Most often, a will names a person to serve as executor, whose job it is to ensure that the estate is properly administered.
The executor typically has at least some work cut out for them. This evidently raises the issue of compensation. The easiest way to ensure that the executor does his or her job is simply to appoint the person who has the most to gain from the will. That way, they cannot inherit until the process is completed.
What if The Will Does Not Name an Executor?
If a Cheltenham, Pennsylvania will does not appoint anyone to serve as executor, or there is no will, the court has to choose someone to fill that role.
Normally, the person chosen to be executor is the one who would benefit most under the will, or under Pennsylvania's intestacy laws. "Intestacy" refers to a situation in which a person dies without a will, or "dies intestate." Every state has laws to address this situation, and there isn't a lot of variation from state to state. Normally, the decedent's property will go to his or her closest relative, and if absolutely no living relatives can be found, it will go to the state.
If the will doesn't name anyone as executor, or the person who was named as executor is no longer living or cannot be found, anyone who has a direct interest in the will in Cheltenham, Pennsylvania can apply to the court to be the executor.
Whoever ends up as the executor, it is their responsibility to serve as the personal representative of the estate. They will be responsible for taking account of all of the decedent's assets and debts, as well as notifying beneficiaries who may be estranged from the decedent, among other things.
Can a Cheltenham, Pennsylvania Estate Administration Attorney Help?
If you find yourself named in a will as executor of an estate, and aren't sure how to meet your responsibilities, or where to begin, it would be a good idea to consult with an accomplished Cheltenham, Pennsylvania lawyer who can help you navigate this sometimes-convoluted process.