Estate Administration: Probate, Intestacy, and Trusts in Pennsylvania

What is Estate Administration?

When a loved one passes, the last thing on your mind is handling their legal affairs – but it has to be dealt with. If the deceased had a will, then the will must be probated in Orphan’s Court and the estate handled according to probate procedure. If the deceased did not have a will, they died intestate, and probate will involve administering the state according to the intestacy laws. If they had assets in a trust, those assets must be dealt with according to the terms ofthe trust.

On top of this, a final income tax must be prepared for the estate, the Pennsylvania inheritance tax must be paid, beneficiaries must be notified, creditors must be paid, and assets must be accounted for. Often, testamentary trusts must be created and funded, and trustees appointed. All of this takes time, and there are many mistakes you can make which cost time and money. An Estate Administration lawyer can handle all of these matters for you, so you don’t have more hanging over you during a difficult time.

What Can an Estate Administration Attorney Do for You?

Whether you are executing the terms of a will, administering an intestate estate, or distributing a trust, I can guide you through the process, and take over the majority of the work so that you don’t have to shoulder that burden. Federal, State, and County laws are all involved during Estate Administration, and you need to make sure you are following each of them. My role is to know those laws and handle an estate as quickly as possible, while taking as much burden off of you as possible.

An Estate Administration lawyer will also work with the different financial institutions who are holding assets to release them to the estate, or directly to the beneficiaries if there was a beneficiary designation made. This itself can be a lengthy process, as different financial institutions will require different information and forms before they will release those assets.

I also work to protect you and the estate from any potential legal challenges. No one wants to be drawn into a lengthy court battle over a loved ones death. Following the creditor notification process ensures that valid debts are paid, while invalid debts are not – preserving money for the estate. And obtaining liability releases from beneficiaries before distributing the assets protects you even if someone decides to challenge the estate in probate court.

Can I Help You with Estate Administration?

Whether an estate is small and has a single beneficiary, or is large enough that it necessitated complicated planning to minimize taxes, there is a detailed process which must be carefully followed to administer it. If you need help navigating the probate process, or analyzing and properly following the terms of a trust, I am happy to help. I can handle just one or two issues for you, or take over administering the entire estate. My goal is to handle the estate as quickly as possible and take the burden of you.

Some of the tasks that Estate Administration can include are:

  • Opening the estate with the probate court (Orphan’s Court, in Pennsylvania).
  • Working with the different financial firms to gather the estates assets.
  • Ensuring assets with beneficiary designations are paid out.
  • Filing an inventory and keeping track of accounting.
  • Filing the deceased’s final income tax return.
  • Filing the Pennsylvania inheritance tax.
  • Filing a notice to potential creditors, and otherwise handling creditors claims.
  • Keeping track of timelines and making sure everything is done according to Court timelines.
  • Obtaining Release of Liability documentation for the Executor.
  • Creating any testamentary trusts according to the terms of the will and appoint trustees.
  • Making a final Distribution of the Estate.

I live and work in Telford, in Montgomery County, across the street from Bucks County, and just a few minutes away from Lehigh County. I serve clients in Souderton, Perkasie, Sellersville, Hatfield, Lansdale, Quakertown, Montgomeryville, and more.

No matter what you need, I am happy to help you through the process in any way I can. Call me at 215-360-3139 to speak to me today, or schedule a free consultation with me.