Estate administration is a long, detailed process that takes months or years to complete. For families already dealing with the grief of loss of a loved one, this process can become extremely daunting.
Formal probate estate administration often can be avoided with careful estate planning, where a family settlement or small estate settlement can alternatively be pursued. For the benefit of loved ones and for peace of mind, it is always highly advisable to have a sound estate plan in effect that minimizes the surviving family’s burden. Whenever a spouse, parent, or loved one dies, next-of-kin survivors should quickly contact an estate attorney in order to select an appropriate estate administration strategy that will not only minimize the family’s burden, but will also maximize the estate’s beneficiary distribution potential.
Governed by statute and case law, Pennsylvania estate administration is the act of opening, managing, and closing a decedent’s estate. When a Pennsylvanian (or non-resident PA property owner) passes, that decedent’s property must be properly managed and distributed according to Pennsylvania law. Generally speaking, the estate administration process consists of opening the estate, marshaling assets, paying creditors, paying inheritance tax, distributing remaining assets to beneficiaries, and closing the estate. Estate administration practice is extremely fact specific and there is never a “one size fits all” solution. Estate administration strategy is largely dependent on the decedent’s marital, family, and financial circumstances, as well as the decedent’s estate plan. With or without an estate plan in effect, it is always highly advisable that a decedent’s family members and loved ones seek an estates attorney’s counsel shortly after death or immediately after the funeral in order chart an optimal estate administration course