The loss of a loved one is never easy. In addition to the emotional impact that follows the death of a loved one, there is the legal task of going through the probate process. Probate will be administered by an executor named either in the deceased’s will or chosen by the court. Probate can be confusing, especially if you have never had to go through it before. However, it is important that all details are carefully met, to avoid problems. The following is a brief overview of the duties of an executor and the types of probate administration in Pennsylvania.

Duties of the executor

First, the executor must locate and collect all the deceased’s assets. Second, the personal representative must pay any bills owed. This includes not only debts owed to creditors, but also funeral expenses, taxes and court costs. After this, the remaining assets in the estate must be distributed to the deceased’s heirs either via the terms of the deceased’s will or, in the absence of a will, through intestate succession.

Two types of probate administration in Pennsylvania

There are two types of probate in Pennsylvania. First there is probate on small estates. This is an expedited process that may be an option if the value of the deceased’s estate is under $50,000 and does not include any real estate or funeral costs. All other estates, in the absence of a trust or other estate planning vehicle that bypasses probate, will have to go through formal probate proceedings.

Help is available to executors tasked with administering an estate

Being named the executor of an estate is an honor, but it is also a big responsibility. Mistakes made could lead to delays or even personal liability. For this reason, it can be valuable to have legal counsel and advocacy to ensure all the necessary steps are completed.