Pennsylvania is one of the few states that collects inheritance tax from anyone having, or owning assets in the Commonwealth. At Voelker & Morris, LLC we have over 50 years of combined experience helping families through this difficult and often emotional time. The administration process includes collecting, and in some cases liquidating assets, paying debts of the decedent, and distributing assets according to that individual’s Last Will and Testament or the through the Intestate Laws of Pennsylvania.
When your loved one has a Will (Testate).
In order to gain information or access into a deceased loved one’s financial accounts you must obtain Letters from the Orphans’ Court in the county where the deceased person resided. When a person dies with a Will, these are called Letters Testamentary. In order to obtain Letters Testamentary, you will need an original death certificate, the original Will of the Decedent and the proper Petition. At the time of acceptance of the Petition you will receive Short Certificates evidencing your appointment as Executor and authority to act on behalf of the Estate.
When your loved one passes without a Will (Intestate).
Gaining the authority to administer a loved one’s Estate without a Will is bit more complex. You will have to prove your relationship to the decedent meets the standard for authority as fiduciary. Each heir of the Estate must sign a document approving your designation as “Administrator”. In order to receive Letters of Administration you will have to present the above, along with the proper Petition. Once you have received the Short Certificates evidencing your authority, the process is much the same as when a person passes with a Will, except that the distribution will be made according the intestate laws of Pennsylvania.
There are times when families disagree through the administration process and in some cases, issues must be settled in Court. We always prefer to manage challenges through settlement and will make every effort toward an amicable resolution. When every effort is not enough, our Estate Administration attorneys are familiar with the Orphans’ Courts procedures and are experienced litigators. We will fight for your rights under the laws of Pennsylvania.
At this difficult time, we are here to help. Contact us today to schedule a no-cost consultation with one of our attorneys. Contact Us.