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 usually 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 Downingtown Pennsylvania will usually be carried out according to the instructions in the will.
Most commonly, a will names a person to serve as executor, whose job it is to guarantee that the estate is properly administered.
The executor is usually whoever stands to acquire 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 Downingtown, Pennsylvania will does not assign anyone to serve as executor, or there is no will, the court has to choose someone to fill that role.
This is most often 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 usually distributes the property to the closest living relatives of the decedent, assuming they can be located.
If no executor is named in the will, anyone with a share in the will can apply to the court in Downingtown, Pennsylvania to be the executor of the estate, if they wish.
Once an executor is finally named, he or she becomes responsible for serving as the living embodiment of the estate, utilizing all legal means to protect the estate's interests (such as mounting plausible legal defenses against creditors).
Can a Downingtown, 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 experienced Downingtown, Pennsylvania lawyer who can help you navigate this sometimes-complicated process.