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 usually 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 Erie County 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 ensure that the estate is properly administered.
The executor is usually 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 Erie County, Pennsylvania is silent as to who should be the executor, it is up to the court to decide who should serve in that capacity.
This is most often the person who would inherit most under the will, or under the intestacy scheme of Pennsylvania. Intestacy is when a person dies without having made a will, or if a will turns out to be invalid. The intestacy laws of each state determine how property is distributed in such a situation. In most states, it simply goes to the closest living relative.
When a will is silent as to who should be the executor, any person who has some direct interest in the outcome can ask to be named executor by the Erie County, Pennsylvania court.
Whoever is appointed to serve as executor, it is their job to act as the representative of the estate. Among other jobs, they have to account for the decedent's debts and assets, and inform any beneficiaries who might be unaware of the situation.
Can a Erie 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 complexities that may arise, an experienced Erie County, Pennsylvania lawyer can make this process a great deal easier.