To be chosen as the executor of a family member’s estate is both an honor and an important responsibility. Carrying out the final wishes of a deceased person in accordance with Pennsylvania law is a painstaking task that can lead to lawsuits from heirs who are not happy with the process. The probate and estate administration attorneys of Hamburg, Rubin, Mullin, Maxwell & Lupin can serve as your guide throughout the process.
Probate is the process both of having a will declared valid and of distributing assets to the named beneficiaries. If there is no will, then the assets are distributed to the deceased person’s legal heirs in accordance with Pennsylvania law.
Some of the steps that need to be taken during the probate and administration process include:
- Publishing notices for potential heirs and creditors
- Taking an inventory of deceased person’s assets
- Paying taxes
- Distributing the balance of the estate to the beneficiaries named in the will (or to the legal heirs if there is no will)
Not all assets have to go through probate. Life insurance policies, 401 (k) accounts, and investment accounts where the deceased person named a beneficiary can pass directly to the beneficiaries. Property contained in trust will pass directly to the person named as the successor trustee.
HRMM&L lawyers regularly monitor the probate process for the benefit of heirs and, if necessary, getting involved in will contests. We also defend executors in will contests.
Contact HRMM&L to set up an appointment.
Elder Law Newsletter
September 1, 2009