The death of a loved one is an overwhelmingly emotional experience. Not only do you have to deal with the loss of someone you love, but there’s also the matter of settling that person’s life. It all comes down to one question – what happens to my loved one’s property?
This is a crucial time when you need someone to make sure your loved one’s wishes and your rights are protected. And the Pennsylvania estate administration lawyers at Fellerman & Ciarimboli are there to help.
With years of experience in estate planning and administration, we can help protect your loved one’s assets and make sure all debts are paid. We know that each estate is different which is why we spend to take the time to make sure everything is right.
What is Estate Administration?
Anyone who passes away has an estate. The administration of an Estate is taking that person’s assets (if any), and distributing them to where they are supposed to go. So, if that person has some debt; we pay the debt. If that person has a will, it goes as the will directs. If there is no will, we do as the state directs.
Whenever someone dies, the family members are left with this question, “What do we do with the property?” Chances are you will have some assets or debt at the time of your death. When this occurs, the assets and debts are placed in an “estate.”
Administering an Estate Without a Will
When someone dies without a will, they have died “intestate.” If you die “intestate” in Pennsylvania, it will be the up to the state to decide who will represent the estate. But how does the state decide? The following is the order in which the state determines who will administer the estate:
1. The surviving spouse
2. The children
3. The deceased’s parents
4. The deceased’s siblings or their children
5. The deceased’s grandparents
6. The deceased’s extended family (uncles, aunts, and cousins)
7. And, if there are no survivors, the Commonwealth
After a representative is appointed, the state will then direct what should be done with the decedent’s assets, including an order of which creditors are to be paid first. It is the state, not the decedent, who makes assumptions as to who you want your assets distributed to.