In Pennsylvania, being named the executor of a will is a significant responsibility. Probate can be a complicated process that not everyone is ready for, so being prepared is imperative. This is a wise step to minimize conflict and ensure that the final wishes of the decedent are adhered to. It is unfortunate that many estate planning issues arise after a person’s death and there are disputes about property. However, following basic strategies can avoid complications and address them if they arise. Having assistance is also useful.
Fundamental ways to avoid conflict with probate
The executor should know his or her role in the process and others who might have a stake in the estate must understand this. Discussing the testator’s desires in detail prior to death will give the executor a guideline to follow. This is true without even knowing what is in the will. There does not need to be in-depth information, but a broad understanding of what the person wants. Many problems can be avoided through simple organization. That includes knowing where the original will is located. It might be with the attorney, it could be in a safe deposit box or it could be somewhere in the home.
Property must be protected after the person has died. For example, if there was a home that is now empty, it could be a temptation for others – even family members – to enter and take items that they might want. Some could be of substantial value. It is frequently unavoidable that conflicts between heirs and prospective heirs will come up. Anger, resentment, lingering bad feelings and expectations can slow the process. Executors should be cognizant of this and try to prevent the situation from escalating. When distributing the property, there should be a system and all parties should abide by the testator’s wishes. Executors should know the testator’s passwords, account numbers and who the intended heirs for all items are.
Legal assistance may be crucial with probate and estate administration
With disagreements during probate, shouting matches do no good, so it is useful to be legally protected with experienced and professional guidance. Whether it is a large estate, a moderately-sized one or a small estate, there will be properties that must be doled out. If there are legitimate disputes or simple sticking points that can be negotiated, it is useful to have legal representation. Consulting with those qualified and experienced in estate planning can help.