Estate administration is the procedure 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 regulating that situation, as well.
If the decedent (the person who died) left a will, the process of estate administration in Columbia 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 guarantee 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 guarantee 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 done.
What if The Will Does Not Name an Executor?
If a Columbia, Pennsylvania will does not name an executor, or no will exists or can be found, it's up to the local court to determine who should be the executor.
This is usually the person who will benefit the most if the will is executed. If there is no will (a situation recognized as "intestacy"), Pennsylvania has a system of laws distributing the decedent's property to his or her closest living relative. In such a case, the closest living relative has the most to gain from an orderly administration of the estate, so they will usually be appointed.
If no executor is named in the will, anyone with a share in the will can apply to the court in Columbia, Pennsylvania to be the executor of the estate, if they wish.
When the executor is chosen, they serve as a sort of incarnation of the decedent's estate - the estate's legal interests become the executor's interests, and the executor is expected to safeguard the estate's interests as they would their own.
Can a Columbia, 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 Columbia, Pennsylvania lawyer who can help you navigate this sometimes-difficult process.