Integrity And Professionalism In Probate And Estate Administration
Since our firm’s founding in 1952, we have set a standard for quality legal services across the Pittsburgh metro. Additionally, Carol Sikov Gross is one of western Pennsylvania’s few Certified Elder Law Attorneys.
We assist clients in probate and estate administration matters in Orphans’ Court following the death of a loved one.
How Does Estate Administration Work In Pennsylvania?
As an executor, you are often responsible for effectively distributing assets in the testator’s estate. The process can involve a lot of moving parts. Here is a breakdown of each step you’ll need to follow:
- Review the will: If the testator included a will in their estate, reviewing it can tell you which assets will go to which beneficiaries. You can typically find their will in your local probate court after the testator dies. Suppose the testator didn’t have a will. In that case, you can review Pennsylvania’s intestate laws to determine how your loved one’s assets will get distributed.
- Determine if you need to challenge the will: Sometimes, you may believe that your loved one’s will isn’t valid, either because you believe portions of it were created under duress or that they were not sound of mind when it was drafted. If you or other beneficiaries have these suspicions, you can challenge the will in probate court with the help of an experienced probate attorney. If not, you can move on to step three.
- Pay off any debts or taxes on the estate: As an executor, you can approach this in several ways. First, you can pay off all debts and taxes upfront before distributing any assets to beneficiaries. You can also distribute the assets to heirs and have them pay off their portion of the debts and taxes on the assets they obtained. Figuring out which option is best for you and the beneficiaries can take time and effort. Our lawyers can help you determine the appropriate option based on your circumstances.
You have a lot of responsibility as an executor. Following these steps can help you keep everything organized and ease the estate administration process. To learn more about how we can help, call our Pittsburgh office at 412-567-1236.
How To Respond If Someone Challenges A Will
During the estate administration process, you may find that a beneficiary wants to challenge a will. If that’s the case, here’s how you can handle the situation:
- Clarify why they’re challenging the will: There can be many reasons. For example, beneficiaries may believe portions of the will aren’t valid or suspect a level of fraud or forgery involved in the estate’s distribution. Clarifying why they’re challenging the will can help you effectively respond.
- Seek legal help: When responding to these challenges, seeking help from a trusted legal professional is crucial. We have handled numerous will challenges and can help you figure out how to maneuver this difficult and emotionally contentious situation.
- Respond to the claim: Once you retain counsel, you can effectively respond and start building your case. Your attorney can help you thoroughly review estate documents and speak with witnesses to build a sound and compelling case.
It’s not easy being an executor and challenges to a testator’s will can add a lot of stress to your job. Call us at 412-567-1236 to learn how we can help you.
Representation In Pennsylvania Orphans’ Court
Many executors or administrators of estates may not understand the probate or estate administration process. Our firm can help you with these tasks and ensure that your duties and responsibilities are fulfilled well and promptly. These duties include collecting the estate’s assets, paying debts, paying taxes, preparing appropriate legal documents and distributing property to help the heirs.
Our proximity to the Orphans’ Court and the Register of Wills offices in West Chester, which handle probate and estate administration matters, allows us to provide our clients with easy access and efficient service.
Representation In Contested Pennsylvania Estate And Probate Matters
There are a variety of probate or estate matters that may require representation in court or litigation. These matters include a contested will issue about a trust, the alleged abuse by the executor or administrator of the estate, or the failure of anyone to open an estate for a deceased individual when there are assets in that individual’s name.
At Sikov and Love, P.A., we strive to meet the needs of our clients compassionately and efficiently. We have significant experience in dealing with our clients’ various probate and estate administration issues.