Wexford Estate Administration Lawyer

Estate administration is the legal process of handling a person’s financial affairs after they pass away. An administrator must pay off an estate’s outstanding debt, including taxes, then distribute property and assets to beneficiaries per the instructions of the decedent’s estate planning documents.

The preliminary duty of an estate administrator is to understand the rules and regulations involved in probate. If you have questions or need help with this process, call a skilled Wexford estate administration lawyer to schedule a consultation. Our proactive estate planning attorneys could help you navigate probate and ensure compliance with state and federal law.

What Is Probate?

Probate involves the validation and distribution of someone’s assets after their death. During probate, courts ensure the decedent’s will is valid, appoint an executor or personal representative, and oversee the transfer of property to beneficiaries or heirs.

Some assets pass directly to designated beneficiaries and are not subject to the estate administration process. These assets include:

  • Life insurance policies
  • Retirement accounts
  • Payable-on-death (POD) or transfer-on-death (TOD) accounts

Additionally, jointly owned assets, such as bank accounts or real estate, may automatically transfer to the surviving joint owner. A Wexford attorney could further explain what parts of an estate will be subject to probate during the administration process.

Administering an Estate With a Will

The first step of administering an estate is determining whether the deceased left a will. Someone must file the original will and the decedent’s death certificate with the appropriate court to proceed with probate. After the court reviews and validates the will, they appoint a personal representative to oversee the probate process.

The court grants personal representatives the lawful authority to act on behalf of the decedent and their estate. This includes the legal authority to carry out provisions for distributing assets as well as handle an estate’s finances to pay taxes and outstanding debts. A capable legal professional in Wexford understands the ins and outs of the estate administration process and can provide guidance throughout these procedures.

Administering an Estate Without a Will

When someone dies without a valid will, courts will distribute their property according to intestate succession laws. Under Pennsylvania Statutes § 2101, the order of beneficiaries that will receive property based on intestate succession includes:

  • The surviving spouse
  • The children of the deceased
  • The deceased’s parents
  • The deceased’s siblings or their children
  • The deceased’s grandparents
  • The deceased’s extended family

A knowledgeable lawyer in Wexford could help throughout the entire estate administration process, regardless of whether the decedent created a will before their death.

Meet With a Compassionate Wexford Estate Administration Attorney

If you have been given the duty of administering an estate, you may feel overwhelmed by tasks and responsibilities. Paying taxes, communicating with beneficiaries, and handling court filings and notices is a lot for one person to manage, especially when these duties involve federal and state estate laws.

To effectively manage this responsibility, many personal representatives choose to work with an experienced Wexford estate administration lawyer. An attorney at Sechler Law Firm can provide legal guidance could you successfully carry out your duties and fulfill your loved one’s final wishes. Call today to learn how we could support you.