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 typically 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 Dauphin County Pennsylvania will typically be carried out according to the instructions in the will.
Most frequently, a will names a person to serve as executor, whose job it is to ensure that the estate is properly administered.
The executor is typically whoever stands to obtain the most money or property if the will is given effect, since that is the person who likely has the most incentive to do their part in seeing that the probate process plays out to completion.
What if The Will Does Not Name an Executor?
If a will in Dauphin County, Pennsylvania does not name a person to serve as executor, or the decedent dies without having written a will, the court will appoint a person to act as estate administrator.
This is most frequently the person who stands to gain the most from the will, or who would inherit the most under Pennsylvania's intestacy laws. Intestacy is the system that every state has in order to deal with the property of people who die without a will. It typically distributes the property to the closest living relatives of the decedent, assuming they can be located.
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 Dauphin County, Pennsylvania can apply to the court to be the executor.
Once an executor is finally named, he or she becomes responsible for serving as the living embodiment of the estate, using all legal means to protect the estate's interests (such as mounting plausible legal defenses against creditors).
Can a Dauphin County, Pennsylvania Estate Administration Attorney Help?
If you are the executor of an estate, and don't know how to handle some of the legal and financial difficulties that may arise, an efficient Dauphin County, Pennsylvania lawyer can make this process a great deal easier.