Who Can Act as Executor of Administrator of The Estate?
The first step for a successful estate administration is determining who is entitled to act as the Executor or Administrator of the decedent's estate. Review this guide for a rundown of this topic and the related issues.
If there is a WillIf the decedent had a will, the named Executor is responsible for bringing it, and other required documents, to the Register of Wills office in the county where the decedent resided at the time of death. The submission of the will to the Register of Wills serves to establish that the decedent's will was duly executed, published and witnessed, as required by law, and that the testator was of sound mind at the time the testator created the will. The Executor will be issued Letters Testamentary (Short Certificates) which verify his or her appointment.
If there is no WillIf the decedent had no will, the adult statutory (intestate) beneficiaries have equal right to act as the Administrator(s). If there is more than one intestate beneficiary entitled to act as Administrator, it is possible for one or more to renounce in favor of a single Administrator in order to allow for a simplified estate administration. The Administrator must appear at the Register of Wills office, with the necessary paperwork, to be sworn in and thereafter act on behalf of the estate. The Administrator will be issued Letters of Administration (Short Certificate) which verify his or her appointment.
What To Bring To The Register Of WillsThe Executor or Administrator must present an Estate Information Sheet, Petition for Probate or Grant of Letters of Administration, the original will (if there is one), affidavits if the will is not self-proving, an original death certificate and a check for probate fees to the Register of Wills at the time he or she is sworn in. In some cases, where the decedent died intestate or the will fails to forgive a bond, it may be necessary for the Executor/Administrator to provide a bond. Generally, an individual PA resident Executor/Administrator is not required to give a bond unless it is specifically required by the will. Where it is necessary to provide a fiduciary bond, we will make recommendations to you regarding the selection and purchase of a bond.
Short CertificatesUpon your appointment of an Executor or Administrator, you will receive "short certificates" which prove that you have the authority to act on behalf of the estate. These short certificates are necessary to close financial accounts, sell or transfer property, to transfer stock or other assets and to generally conduct the business of the estate. It will be necessary to obtain a sufficient number of the short certificates to provide one to each of the interested parties.