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Get Help With Administration And Pennsylvania Probate

The process of probating an estate can be very complex and overwhelming, especially if it’s for a close relative like a parent or a spouse. At Audi Law PLLC, in Hershey, I am here to serve you in the capacity you need. Have a question? Call me, Ali Audi, at 717-707-5611 and get the answers you need to move the process forward.

The Required Legal Steps After A Death

If you are the administrator or personal representative for a Pennsylvania estate, you will have several duties. Failure to follow through can mean that you are removed and replaced. In some cases, the breaching of your fiduciary duties can result in criminal charges. It is not a responsibility to be shirked or to be taken lightly. Here are the general responsibilities of an administrator:

  1. You will need to make an accounting of all the assets and debts of the estate of the person who passed.
  2. You will be required to pay all the necessary expenses, bills and debts.
  3. You will need to notify creditors. Typically this is a newspaper obituary.
  4. You have a duty to then distribute the remaining assets to the named beneficiaries of the will.
  5. It is your responsibility to file any tax returns, both individual and estate tax if the deceased exceeded the exemptions.
  6. You need to ensure the last income or estate taxes are paid.
  7. You will have to deal with the potential for disappointed heirs who complain or threaten to sue.

The person acting as personal representative or executor is a fiduciary. This means that person can be held personally responsible for what happens to the estate’s assets. Having fiduciary duties to the estate and potential heirs can be overwhelming, confusing at times and quite time consuming if you have a family and a full-time job.

An attorney who works in estate planning and administration can help. I offer estate administration services. I will ensure the correct paperwork is filed, help you prevent potential issues and assist when something goes wrong.

The Pennsylvania Probate Process

Probate is the state process that happens after a person dies. The purpose is to ensure that the assets of the estate go to the people the last will and testament (will) dictates. If there is no will, then the assets will be distributed per Pennsylvania intestate succession laws. Intestate means “without a will.”

Not every estate goes through probate. Those estates with a value of less than $50,000 (in 2021) can avoid probate. This amount changes every few years, so it’s important to confirm this amount.

Probate can be avoided with careful planning. Assets that have named beneficiaries (such as an IRA, life insurance policy, bank account, 402(k) and some mutual funds) do not go through probate. Assets held in a trust, are in a transfer-on-death or payable-on-death account or that are in joint tenancy do not go through the probate process. The probate process involves some fees and filings, and depending on the complexity of the estate can take a few months to a year or longer.

Let’s Talk About Your Role And How I Can Help

I know that for a nonlawyer the estate administration and probate processes can feel very foreign. I am here to help. I will answer your questions and offer support and guidance. Let’s discuss what you need: 717-707-5611 or connect via website contact email. My office is in Hershey, and I help clients throughout Dauphin County and Derry Township.