Winding up the life affairs of a loved one who has passed away can be overwhelming to a family. The emotional roller coaster of a prolonged terminal illness, or the trauma of a sudden and unexpected death, finds loved ones often times unprepared and unable to deal with the practical and legal administration tasks. We help these families by explaining the estate administration process (or perhaps the trust distribution process) and provide the necessary legal assistance to the personal representative, e.g. the executor, administrator or trustee. We do everything desired by the personal representative to ease the burden on them and their family.
Typical ways in which we help with the administration of a decedent’s estate involves accompanying the person to be appointed personal representative to the Register of Wills office for the probate of the Will and securing the Letters Testamentary or Letters of Administration. We undertake on behalf of the personal representative the required legal notices to the beneficiaries and publications. We assist with inventorying and marshaling the assets, locating heirs (if and when needed), securing appraisals for antiques and other items of valuable personal property, assist with the listing, marketing and sale of real estate, either within or outside the state of Pennsylvania, and secure necessary information from banks, brokerage houses and other financial institutions for purposes of both distribution and death and inheritance tax valuation and reporting. We either prepare, or oversee the preparation of, the applicable Federal and Pennsylvania death and inheritance tax returns as well as the decedent’s and the estate’s income tax returns. We determine the most efficient and cost effective way to wind up the administration of the estate, whether by formal court audit proceedings or informal family settlement agreements. Simply put, we guide and help the personal representative to undertake and perform all tasks required as a result of the death of their loved one, whether these tasks are common and routine or special and unique.