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Probate and Estate Administration

When a loved one passes away, the estate often goes through a process called probate and thereafter estate administration.  If you are serving as the Personal Representative for an estate, the probate/estate administration attorneys at Bruno Law will help you through every step of this process.  Probate is the process of “proving” a decedent’s will.  If the decedent has a will, the will often designates an Executor to oversee the estate administration process.  If a person dies intestate (without a will), the Register of Wills in PA or the Surrogate Court in NJ will appoint an Administrator to oversee the administration process.  Typically, the Administrator will be the surviving spouse or children of the decedent.

During the estate administration process, there are specific procedures and requirements that must be followed for collecting assets, paying off obligations, such as debts, expenses, and taxes, and distributing the remaining property to beneficiaries according to that person’s will.  If a decedent passes without a will, the decedent’s assets will be allocated according to the statutory scheme of distribution per state law.

The Executor or Administrator of an estate (aka Personal Representative) must take the following steps to administer the estate:

  • Notify the beneficiaries (if there is a will) or heirs (if there is no will).
  • Take an inventory and appraisal of all estate assets, including personal possessions and real estate.
  • Pay funeral expenses, debts, and state and federal taxes.
  • Distribute the remaining assets to the appropriate beneficiaries or heirs.
  • Close the estate.

There are many required procedures involved in properly administering an estate.  Because the Personal Representative has the sole authority to act on behalf of the estate, they have a fiduciary duty to the estate’s beneficiaries.  Therefore, they may be held personally liable for failing to properly manage an estate’s assets.

If your loved one has died and you are a Personal Representative of the estate, contact the probate/estate administration attorneys at Bruno Law.  We will assist you through the probate and estate administration process to ensure that all procedures are properly followed.  To schedule your initial consultation, call us at 610-258-4003 or fill out the Contact form.

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