March 24, 2017 by Lloyd A. Welling, Esq.
Typically and as part of your overall Pennsylvania estate plan, you will create a Last Will and Testament in which you will be naming and designating an Executor/Executrix to managing your affairs and oversee the probate process following your death. Obviously, this is an extremely important role and choosing the right person is essential. Likewise, there are some additional steps that you can take to give your Executor a head start in carrying out the probate process.
KEEP YOUR WILL IN A SECURE PLACE AND MAKE SURE YOUR EXECUTOR KNOWS WHERE IT CAN BE FOUND.
Remember, in many cases your Executor is going to have to submit your Will to a Pennsylvania probate court following your death. You would be surprised how often it becomes a difficult task just to locate a person’s Will after they have died. We encounter many situations where the decedent never told the Executor where they were keeping the Will or, for that matter, whether or not they even had prepared one. It’s a very good idea to eliminate this problem at the outset by not only advising your Executor where you are keeping the original document, but also by providing them with a copy of same.
PROVIDE ADDITIONAL INSTRUCTIONS.
We counsel all of our estate planning clients to write a “letter of instruction” that they can keep with their Wills and other estate planning documents. Though not a legally binding document, a letter of instruction can often prove to be extremely useful to an Executor as he or she begins to move forward with the probate estate administration process. The letter can include instructions as to what assets you own, where they can be found and even who the Executor may want to contact regarding same. The letter can also be very usual for designating who is to receive particular items from your personal and household effects. This can often head off fights after your death between your heirs and family members over same.
These are just two simple steps that you can take that will go a long way in ensuring that your Executor will get off to a good start when it comes to the administration of your estate. Remember, the more information, paperwork and knowledge that you provide up front, the faster and less problematic the probate process will be.
At American Wills & Estates we have been guiding clients throughout Pittsburgh and Western Pennsylvania through both the estate planning and probate estate administration process with competency, compassion and care for over 25 years. Call us today to schedule your free legal consultation, or visit us online at www.americanwillsandestates.com