Estate administration is the process of settling an individual’s financial affairs and distributing their assets after death. The requirements for completing this process vary from state to state, and the timeframe can depend on the preparation of legal documents, the value and extent of assets, and the number of beneficiaries.
A New Castle estate administration lawyer could provide essential legal guidance while preparing legal documents, managing financial accounts, and communicating with beneficiaries. If you have been named to administer a loved one’s estate, a compassionate estate planning attorney at Sechler Law Firm is available to walk you through your next steps.
When someone dies in Pennsylvania, their estate is distributed through a process called probate. A comprehensive will typically names an executor to manage this process. When someone dies without a will, the court appoints an estate administrator to fulfill this role.
The process of administering an estate through probate involves:
The timeline for completing these steps will depend on the size and complexity of the estate. While creditors have a year to submit their claims, disputes over the distribution of assets and debts can delay the probate process for much longer. Hiring a New Castle attorney could be essential for completing the steps involved in estate administration in a timely manner.
There is no inheritance tax on assets that pass to a decedent’s spouse. However, other beneficiaries may have to pay an inheritance tax on the assets they receive from a decedent’s estate. Assets that pass to a decedent’s children are taxed at 4.5%, and assets that pass to a decedent’s siblings are taxed at 12%. Assets that pass to any other person, such as friends, cousins, nieces, or nephews, are taxed at 15%.
The law requires that inheritance tax be paid in full within nine months of the decedent’s death unless circumstances justify an extension. A seasoned estate administration lawyer could help a named beneficiary in New Castle understand their rights and tax responsibilities regarding inherited assets.
There are two ways to conclude the estate administration process. When there are continued disputes among beneficiaries, any involved party can file a formal accounting with the court. During a formal accounting, a court will review and decide whether to approve the terms of estate distribution. However, a formal accounting is an expensive process that often requires appearances in court. This method for concluding estate administration is generally reserved for cases where someone suspects an executor or beneficiary has stolen or misappropriated assets.
In most cases, beneficiaries can conclude the probate process by agreeing to sign off on the distribution of the estate. A New Castle attorney could assist you with a formal accounting or preparing a release to conclude the estate administration process.
Handling a loved one’s estate is a complicated legal process. A New Castle estate administration lawyer could answer questions and address concerns you may have about managing a family member’s assets or debts after their passing.