One of the first steps to take when a loved one has passed away is determining if an estate needs to be “opened” on their behalf. Making this determination is a crucial step that could potentially save time and money if a formal estate is not necessary.
An experienced Estate Attorney can advise you on whether you will need to open an estate, but generally, this will only be necessary if a decedent owns assets solely in his or her name at the time of death.
The goals of Estate Administration are as follows:
- Locate all of the decedent’s assets;
- Verify all debts and/or creditors that are outstanding and ensure that all debts are paid accordingly;
- Make certain that all taxes (including Pennsylvania inheritance tax) are paid; and finally,
- Distribute the remaining assets to the appropriate beneficiaries/heirs.