Probate Lawyer for Columbia County
We Handle Elder Law Issues in Central Pennsylvania
It can be difficult to sort through all of the emotions surrounding the loss of a loved one. Regardless of the person's age or the cause of passing, loved ones feel a sense of loss that can be overwhelming at first. These feelings are to be expected after the loss of someone you love.
However, if you have been named the executor or administrator of your loved one’s estate, there are processes that you will need to oversee. Though the process might not appear important in your grief, your loved one certainly found comfort in knowing that you would handle these final matters.
Help When You Need It Most
The process of probate entails many steps and details to complete, but the actions can be performed by a trusted legal professional rather than the executor of the estate. Kreisher Marshall & Associates, LLC has been assisting families in central Pennsylvania for over four decades as they traverse the challenges of probate. As one of the largest law firms in Columbia and Montour Counties, we offer help for all probate legal needs as well as personalized service and the compassion that you would expect from a neighbor within the community. Please call us at (570) 784-5211 or stop by our office at 401 S. Market Street in Bloomsburg to speak to one of our certified elder law attorneys.
Our probate lawyers are prepared to offer as much or as little assistance as you would like to make the process as simple and stress-free as possible. We can assist you with any of the following:
- Filing the will at the Register of Wills or the surrogate petition and inventory: A will is a legal document, and any member of the public can file a document request at the Register of Wills to obtain a copy of any will.
- Collecting assets: This process involves collecting and verifying assets, as well as protecting and securing them until they can be distributed according to the decedent’s will.
- Filing tax returns: Pennsylvania is one of six states that collects an inheritance tax. The executor is responsible for filing the inheritance tax documentation.
- Selling real estate and businesses: The executor is also tasked with liquidating any property or businesses that the deceased owned. In some cases, there are parameters in the will for the sale of these assets, while in other cases, the process is left completely to the executor's discretion.
- Settling creditor claims: This is a final reckoning with all creditors associated with the deceased’s personal property or businesses.
- Working with problem heirs: In some cases, there are heirs who can be emotional, unreasonable, or agitated when they are notified of the distribution of someone’s assets. As the executor of an estate, you have a personal liability and duty to the beneficiaries. If there are issues with the distribution, you can be held responsible and forced to correct the distribution with your personal funds. In addition, any heir can demand that you go before a judge to explain every action and expense that you have approved for the estate.
- Obtaining the executor's release of liability documentation: This is a legal document signed by the heirs to release the executor of any liability should any of the affairs of the estate have been mishandled.
Protecting Yourself as an Executor
As the executor of an estate, you have a duty to your loved one as well as to the heirs of the estate. You have accepted a fiduciary responsibility, which compels you to act in the best interests of the beneficiaries of the estate. This can be a heavy burden to add to your emotional loss, especially when the estate is substantial or you know that the heirs could pose issues.
It is common for the executor to retain legal representation for himself or herself to guard against later liability issues. The estate pays the cost of this service, and the estate and all of the heirs reap the benefits, as the probate process is then administered by a knowledgeable legal professional. At the Kreisher Marshall & Associates, LLC, we would be happy to sit down with you to discuss your responsibilities as an executor and how we can not only assist you in performing your duties but protect you personally throughout the process. Call today at (570) 784-5211 or stop by our office to learn more about our services.