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 typically 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 St. Marys, Pennsylvania, the process of estate administration typically follows the procedures and instructions laid out in the will.
Typically, wills appoint 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 typically has some work ahead of them. To ensure that they truly 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 St. Marys, 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.
This is most frequently 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 typically distributes the property to the closest living relatives of the decedent, assuming they can be located.
If the will doesn't name anyone as executor, or the person who was named as executor is no longer living or cannot be found, anyone who has a direct interest in the will in St. Marys, Pennsylvania can apply to the court to be the executor.
Whoever ends up as the executor, it is their responsibility to serve as the personal representative of the estate. They will be responsible 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 St. Marys, 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 efficient St. Marys, Pennsylvania lawyer who can help you navigate this sometimes-perplexing process.