Personal Representative

Navigating the complicated estate administration and probate process can be overwhelming for loved ones who did not realize everything that was required and all the tasks they’ll be responsible for. Being named as an executor or a personal representative might be one way that you believe you can honor your loved one’s legacy but it could also give you additional stress and frustrations if you proceed without the support of a lawyer.

Why Would I Need a Lawyer?

As a knowledgeable Pennsylvania personal representative lawyer can tell you, it is perfectly legal and even respected for you to get the support of a knowledgeable attorney involved as quickly and efficiently as possible. This can greatly speed up the process of administering probate and make everything much easier for you when you find yourself overwhelmed with these responsibilities. If you are serving as a personal representative, especially if this is your first time in that role, you will likely have many questions.

Having an attorney you can get these answers from and to ensure that your legal obligations are fulfilled is important but this also gives you important reminders about keeping appropriate notes and documents so that you can reflect back upon these and return these to the court if they are ever requested. A personal representative attorney in Pennsylvania can help to guide an executor or an administrator through the entire process of probate. this can include things like identifying assets, getting a CPA to prepare and file a final tax return, preparing notifications to give to creditors, guiding the payment of debts of the decedents, and ensuring that assets are properly distributed in accordance with intestate law or the will. More importantly, a personal representative attorney in Pennsylvania is there to help personal representatives with questions that come up.

Probate is simply the legal process through which a person’s final affairs are resolved after they pass away. This includes determining the value of the estate, taking an inventory of all the property belonging to it, paying off taxes and debts from estate assets, and distributing any remaining assets to beneficiaries or heirs in accordance with wills or laws. The probate process can take a few months or over a few years depending on its complexity. While an estate administrator and an executor carry out many of the same tasks, the basis for their position is different.

An executor is appointed in a decedent’s will while an administrator is assigned by a court when a person passes away without a will. Many people believe that creating a will eliminated the need for probate but if you have recently been appointed in the role of personal representative, you might already know that this is not accurate. While having a last will and testament can make it easier for an executor or a personal representative to navigate this process, it does not eliminate the need for probate. Probate is still required to:

  • Account for all assets, such as getting them inventoried and valued
  • Preserving the assets for the duration of probate
  • Notifying creditors and heirs about the passing of the deceased and whether or not they may be entitled to something as part of the estate
  • Filing tax returns
  • Paying debts
  • Distributing assets to heirs and beneficiaries
  • Filing court documents and closing probate

Unfortunately, disputes and conflicts among family members can also emerge during this time, which makes the already challenging role of personal representative that much more difficult. You can make it easier for yourself by retaining an experienced attorney who has guided other personal representatives through this process. You will get a great deal of information associated with this process found much easier when you work with a lawyer to help you navigate your next steps.

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