When people die in Pennsylvania, their assets and liabilities form part of their estate. Administrators manage those assets according to the decedent’s will or the state’s intestacy laws.
This process can be complex and often leaves many questions unanswered. This article addresses three frequently asked questions about estate administration in Pennsylvania.
1. Can beneficiaries act as administrators?
Yes, a beneficiary can also serve as an administrator of an estate. In Pennsylvania, the administrator or executor is typically appointed by the decedent in their will or chosen by the court if there is no will. It is common for a trusted family member or friend to act as the administrator, who may also be a beneficiary under the will or intestacy laws.
2. Can the administrator sell property?
According to the Pennsylvania Consolidated Statutes, an administrator can sell personal property. Before selling any real estate, the administrator must usually get court approval. The administrator must ensure the property sells at a fair price. They distribute proceeds according to the decedent’s wishes or the state’s intestacy laws.
3. How long does probate last?
The estate administration duration depends on the estate’s complexity and the beneficiaries’ cooperation. Generally, it can take several months to a few years to complete the process. Factors affecting the timeline include:
- The number of assets
- Total liabilities
- The number of beneficiaries
- Whether any disputes or challenges arise during the administration
Poor estate plans also contribute to the length of probate.
Estate administration in Pennsylvania involves many critical tasks, such as appointing an administrator, managing assets and distributing them to the appropriate beneficiaries. Individuals can contribute to a smooth and efficient administration process by understanding the basics of estate administration.