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 Westmoreland County, Pennsylvania, the process of estate administration normally follows the procedures and instructions laid out in the will.
Most often, a will names a person to serve as executor, whose job it is to ensure that the estate is properly administered.
The executor is normally the person who stands to inherit the most money or property from the will, since this personn will have the greatest incentive to see the probate and administration process to completion.
What if The Will Does Not Name an Executor?
If a Westmoreland County, Pennsylvania will does not name an executor, or no will exists or can be found, it's up to the local court to decide who should be the executor.
This is usually the person who will benefit the most if the will is executed. If there is no will (a situation recognized as "intestacy"), Pennsylvania has a system of laws distributing the decedent's property to his or her closest living relative. In such a situation, the closest living relative has the most to gain from an orderly administration of the estate, so they will usually be appointed.
If no executor is named in the will, anyone with a stake in the will can apply to the court in Westmoreland County, Pennsylvania to be the executor of the estate, if they wish.
When the executor is chosen, they serve as a sort of incarnation of the decedent's estate - the estate's legal interests become the executor's interests, and the executor is expected to protect the estate's interests as they would their own.
Can a Westmoreland County, 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 accomplished Westmoreland County, Pennsylvania lawyer who can help you navigate this sometimes-difficult process.