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 person who died made and executed a valid will in Scranton, Pennsylvania, the process of estate administration usually follows the procedures and instructions laid out in the will.
Usually, wills assign an executor who is responsible for overseeing the administration of the estate, and seeing that its provisions are carried out, to the extent possible.
The person named as executor of an estate usually has some work ahead of them. To ensure that they actually follow through on their commitments, 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 will in Scranton, Pennsylvania does not name a person to serve as executor, or the decedent dies without having written a will, the court will assign a person to act as estate administrator.
This is typically the person who will benefit the most if the will is executed. If there is no will (a situation known 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 typically 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 a Scranton, 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 Scranton, 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 reputable Scranton, Pennsylvania attorney, the process almost always goes pretty smoothly.