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 normally 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 person who died made and executed a valid will in Lehigh County, Pennsylvania, the process of estate administration normally follows the procedures and instructions laid out in the will.
Commonly, the will appoints an executor whose job it is to oversee the administration of the will.
The person named as executor of an estate normally has some work ahead of them. To ensure that they really follow through on their obligations, most people name as executor the person who will get the most money, or other benefit, if the will is given effect as written. Because an estate can't be distributed until the administration process is complete, the executor has an incentive to see it through.
What if The Will Does Not Name an Executor?
If a Lehigh County, Pennsylvania will does not appoint anyone to serve as executor, or there is no will, the court has to choose someone to fill that role.
Normally, this will be the person who has the most to receive from the will, or who would gain the most under Pennsylvania's intestacy scheme (the system that distributes the decedent's property to his or her closest living relatives, if he or she dies without a will).
If the will doesn't name a person who is to serve as executor, or the person named is no longer alive or cannot be found, anyone with a direct interest in the will can apply to the Lehigh County, Pennsylvania court to be the executor.
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 Lehigh County, Pennsylvania Estate Administration Attorney Help?
Some people are surprised when they find out they've been named the executor of a relative's estate. The responsibilities can seem daunting, but with the help of a brilliant Lehigh County, Pennsylvania attorney, the process almost always goes pretty smoothly.