In March my mother (a widow)passed away. She had a Will naming myself and my 2 brothers as executors. We did seek a lawyer at that time to renounce my brothers and to probate the will . I was court appt'd and have the short cert. Is there an order in
which you have to pay bills? There might be more bills than actuall money in the Estate.
I would like to do this myself if funds are short and not have to pay an attorney (who wanted
5% of all assets)I wondered if the courts (or whoever) had some kind of step by step
guide. I have already took "snapshots" of the assets of the day my mother died.
and started to call creditors, faxing death & short cert to them. I also started to liquidate
accts such as CD's mutual funds, stocks and opened an estate acct w/an EIN #.The county is Pike county PA
Yes, you have the legal authority to make this very unwise choice. Here is why you want to have counsel.
Probate laws and procedure vary greatly from state to state, and none are designed well for self-representation. Further, there is the matter of fiduciary responsibilities. When a person represents themself in a legal matter, they undertake an obligation to the court and opposing party to proceed in compliance with the court's rules, and they are held to the same standard of compliance as are licensed counsel. If the litigant fails, only the self-represented litigant is damaged. The self-represented PR of an estate undertakes all those obligations and in addition does so on behalf of the heirs and beneficiaries, to whom the PR owes a fiduciary duty. Put another way, if the PR screws up, s/he is liable personally to others who have been damaged by the error. Most probate attorneys would consider self-representation as a PR to be unwise in the extreme.
Not all attorneys charge a percentage fee. Here in Idaho, for instance, we consider such a fee arrangement unethical. Surely you can find an attorney willing to represent and assist on an hourly basis.
Best wishes for a favorable outcome, and please remember to designate a best answer. ,
This answer is offered as a public service for general information only and may not be relied upon as legal advice.
There is an old but true saying that he who represents himself has a fool for a client. Although you can object to a percentage, some counsel may accept an hourly rate or flat fee. If the estate is insolvent, you may wish to file an application to have the estate declared insolvent. It is akin to a bankruptcy proceeding for an estate. It allows for the funeral, counsel fees and your commission to be paid along with any other necessary cost of the estate. Any remaining funds are allocated pro rata among the creditors. If there are more funds than assets, you still have to file an Inheritance tax return and perform other steps.
This response does not constitute the establishment of an attorney-client relationship. It is also not to be taken as firm legal advice as such would be contingent on a full inquiry by the attorney into the complete background of the facts and circumstances surrounding this matter. The response is meant to be a helpful guide to a question in a manner which reflects the limited information provided by the inquirer.
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