Duties of the Personal Representative
The role of Personal Representative is an important one that involves locating and safeguarding the assets of the estate, notifying the heirs of the opening of the estate, advertising the estate in two (2) newspapers of general circulation in the County where the estate was opened, ascertaining and paying all of the final expenses and debts of the estate, ensuring that Pennsylvania inheritance tax and all other taxes are paid timely, and finally, distributing assets and closing the estate. Estates can be closed by way of a formal accounting through the Court or by a Settlement Agreement that sets forth a plan for distribution of the estate and will need to be agreed to and signed by the personal representative and all beneficiaries of the estate.
Role of the Estate Attorney
An attorney representing an estate works with the personal representative to ensure that the estate is being administered in accordance with the decedent’s Will or in compliance with Pennsylvania intestacy laws and assists the personal representative with all of the aforementioned duties involved in settling the estate. The estate attorney will represent the estate through the personal representative and will not represent the individual beneficiaries. Retaining an experienced estate attorney will ensure that this complex process is handled properly.