Estate Administration by an Estate Lawyer Serving Executors in Lansdale, Pennsylvania

Administering the estate of a loved one can be a daunting, often confusing task. Suddenly, the executor is faced with the puzzling task of navigating the necessary financial and legal steps to settle the affairs of the person who has passed on. What does an executor do in this situation?

It is not unusual for one spouse to handle all of a couple’s finances, leaving the other uninformed and overwhelmed. As a result, the sudden death of that person can leave the living spouse unprepared to administer the estate of their beloved.

Sometimes, a person may find himself or herself an executor of an estate which he or she knows little or nothing about. In addition, the estate itself may be disorganized or strewn among many accounts.

Probate can be overwhelming and intimidating for the executor. Working with a competent attorney to help you to execute your duties confidently and correctly is essential.

What is Probate?

Probate, also known as estate administration, is the process whereby a deceased person’s property, their “estate,” is passed to the beneficiaries named in their will. This process usually takes about a year, depending on the size and complexity of the estate.

The responsibility of managing the probate process falls to whomever the decedent appointed executor in the will. Matters are generally more complicated when someone dies without a will, because it may not be clear who should handle probate.

The Probate Process

Prior to beginning admistration of an estate, we advise an Executor take some time for the following:

  • Secure Personal Property. This means anything that is tangible, anything you can touch. This includes automobiles, kitchenware, and collectibles or artwork. Perform an inventory soon after death. If property moves, or is distributed before you have the opportunity to take an inventory, this will become a difficult task. Therefore, secure and do not distribute any property immediately.

  • Take some time to grieve. The process of probate does not need to begin immediately. Take some time to grieve. If an Inheritance Tax Return is required, it must be filed nine (9) months after the date of passing.

  • Consult with an Attorney. When you are prepared to move forward, meet with an attorney to review the steps necessary to administer the estate. Bring as much information as possible about finances, taxes and debts. A brief consultation can determine whether probate is necessary, and offer invaluable peace of mind.

What does an Executor of a Will do?

The executor of an estate files the will and distributes assets, and files the Pennsylvania Inheritance Tax Return, which includes multiple forms and exhibits. The Process of Probate or Estate Administration can be difficult without proper guidance from a qualified attorney who can help guide you through the process.

If you are an executor with questions about what to do to administer an estate and navigate the probate process, or about what probate is, feel free to call me at 215-647-6800 for a free consultation.

With condolences for your loss,

Carla Trongone