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 typically 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 Elizabethtown 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 guarantee that the estate is properly administered.
The executor is typically 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 will in Elizabethtown, Pennsylvania is silent as to who should be the executor, it is up to the court to determine who should serve in that capacity.
This is normally the person who will benefit the most if the will is executed. If there is no will (a situation identified 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 normally be appointed.
In cases where the will doesn't name an executor, or the person named is unable to take on that role for whatever reason, any person who has some direct share in the decedent's estate (either because they're named in the will or stand to inherit by intestacy) can petition an Elizabethtown, Pennsylvania court to be assigned executor.
Whoever ends up as the executor, it is their responsibility to serve as the personal representative of the estate. They will be accountable 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 Elizabethtown, Pennsylvania Estate Administration Attorney Help?
If you have unexpectedly been appointed to be the executor of a relative's estate, and don't know how to handle this process, you should speak with a reliable Elizabethtown, Pennsylvania wills and trusts attorney.