The purpose of having a will as part of an estate plan is to ensure that your property passes to your designated heirs after your death. As a result, every comprehensive will should nominate a personal representative (also called an executor) to take the lead in this task. Once the Orphan’s Court appoints this person as a representative, they have a duty to act appropriately in the administration of the estate.
If you have recently learned that a will has nominated you as the personal representative of an estate, our Cranberry Township estate administration lawyer may be able to provide essential guidance. We could help you to understand your powers and obligations under the law. This could result in a speedier and smoother probate process.
In addition, our estate planning attorneys could help heirs who believe that a personal representative has failed in their obligations under the law. We could work to evaluate a personal representative’s actions and take the lead in any necessary legal responses.
Every estate that moves into probate in Cranberry Township must have a personal representative. The personal representative is an individual with the sole power and responsibility to handle the details necessary to administer a decedent’s estate. Usually, a decedent’s will nominates a person to serve in this role. However, the Orphan’s Court has the ultimate say in appointing people to the status of a personal representative.
Personal representatives have strict duties to adhere to their roles under the law. In general, they must act in a way that serves the interests of the estate and must make a good faith effort to do their best in this regard. More specifically, they must provide the court with an inventory of the estate’s property according to Title 20 Pennsylvania State § 3301. They must then pay the decedent’s debts. When this is complete, they can distribute the remaining property to the heirs named in the will. A skilled attorney in Cranberry Township with experience in estate administration could help you better understand your obligations as a personal representative under Commonwealth law.
Commonwealth law places a heavy burden on personal representatives to act appropriately and solely for the benefit of the estate. To this end, an estate’s heirs should scrutinize the actions of personal representatives and have the option to seek legal recourse if they believe malfeasance has occurred.
Title 20 P.S. § 3182 lists the reasons why a court may remove a personal representative from their post. These include:
If you are a beneficiary of an estate and are unsure if the personal representative is upholding their duties, our estate administration lawyers in Cranberry Township could help you determine if the time is right to ask the court to reconsider the appointment of a personal representative. If the court finds the personal representative has acted in bad faith, it may be possible to hold that representative personally liable for any lost value in the estate.
Proper estate administration in Cranberry Township requires a personal representative to understand their obligations under the law. This includes a general duty to act appropriately as well as specific requirements to perform an inventory and distribute property to heirs.
Our knowledgeable attorneys could help you understand your role as a personal representative. A Cranberry Township estate administration lawyer could provide the assistance that you need to meet your obligations under the law. On the other hand, if you suspect the person handling your loved one’s estate is not fulfilling their duties, we can help you and the other beneficiaries pursue justice. Contact us now to learn more.