Administering an estate for family members or other loved ones can sometimes be burdensome. Our team works closely with personal representatives to ensure that they accomplish their legal duties and help them better understand the probate process and issues that may arise. We assist personal representatives, from filing the necessary paperwork with the Register of Wills to making final distributions to beneficiaries. Our experienced attorneys and paralegals are especially sensitive to the emotional issues that can arise among grieving loved ones.
Our attorneys consult with you from the beginning of the estate administration process through its conclusion. We advise on the deadlines for the estate administration process, legal requirements, and tax options for the Pennsylvania Inheritance Tax Return, the Federal and State Fiduciary Returns, and the Federal Estate Tax Return. We assist personal representatives in determining the validity of creditor claims, filing the Inheritance Tax Return, preparing notices to beneficiaries, preparing an informal or formal accounting for the estate, and on any specific needs that arise in the Estate, including, but not limited to, disputes among the beneficiaries.
Administration of Estates
Estate administration consists of locating, gathering, inventorying, valuing and liquidating assets, providing the necessary statutory notices and advertisements, satisfying claims against the estate according to law, paying all administrative costs, filing all necessary tax returns and ultimately distributing the estate to its beneficiaries. We have decades of experience mastering the process and we guide clients through the process in order to efficiently and effectively administer estates. We invest in sophisticated computer software which is utilized by our attorneys and paralegals to collect inventory and accounting information into one database, saving time and reducing the cost of preparing the necessary documents and tax returns for the estate. We have established an efficient process to prepare and serve the required notices to state agencies, beneficiaries and creditors, file the necessary tax documents and obtain releases necessary to distribute the assets. Our goal is to administer the estate efficiently and to distribute the assets as soon as possible.
Administering an estate can be considerably more difficult for a personal representative who does not live in Pennsylvania. For out-of-state personal representatives, we offer a wide range of resources to assist them in accomplishing administrative duties without the necessity of their traveling to Pennsylvania. We keep them closely advised about the progress of our work throughout the administration process.
Administration of Intestate Estates
It isn’t uncommon for people to die without a will, but unfortunately, there is a great deal of confusion that arises when that happens. If you have a loved one who has passed without a will, the important thing to remember is that the law will govern how estate assets are distributed, but you must go to probate. Whether you are a surviving spouse or another heir, you don’t need to be intimidated. A probate attorney from RKG Law can walk you through the process so you know what to expect. Together, you will take the steps necessary so that the estate can be administered as quickly and efficiently as possible.
Administration of Trusts
Estate plans often include trusts ranging from testamentary trusts, living trusts, irrevocable trusts, charitable trusts, life insurance trusts and charitable remainder trusts. Our experienced attorneys and paralegals will guide and assist trustees in the proper administration and distribution of trust assets. For the duration of the trust, we will provide annual statutory notices to beneficiaries, prepare annual accountings, prepare and obtain necessary releases for interim and final distributions and assist in ensuring all tax returns are filed.
Corporate Fiduciary Support
Many people choose a corporate fiduciary for estate administration purposes as a part of their estate plan because of their neutrality and expertise in financial matters. While a corporate fiduciary can reduce the legal fees associated with administering your estate, there are certain actions that they cannot undertake and there are times when they need legal assistance. At RKG Law, we are uniquely positioned to provide corporate fiduciaries with support in every aspect of estate administration.
Department of Human Services Liens
Many people are unaware that Medicaid and other programs can assert a lien against assets of the estate. Often referred to as the “Medicaid Estate Recovery,” it allows the state to recover certain long-term care benefits paid on behalf of a deceased beneficiary. As a result, the state can recover from the estate any benefits paid for nursing homes, hospital stays, and in-home care. However, it doesn’t apply to all Medicaid benefits and it doesn’t attach to all estate assets. We help individuals plan for their future Medicaid needs and we help estates navigate the Medicaid Estate Recovery process.
Inheritance Tax Preparation
It is important to consult with a professional who can properly prepare the Pennsylvania Inheritance Tax Return and consult on whether a Federal Inheritance Tax Return is advisable or required. An experienced attorney can advise you on how to maximize deductions and take advantage of the discount payment period. Failing to properly prepare and file a return can result in additional tax, interest, and penalties.
Estate Disputes & Orphans' Court Litigation
Sometimes settlement of an estate involves litigation. Our attorneys, who can represent the estate, an heir or third party such as a creditor, are experienced in many types of litigation involving estates, including will contests, spousal elections, challenges to the testamentary capacity, challenges to a fiduciary’s accounting, and other probate litigation. Estate litigation is often complicated and can be emotionally charged. Our attorneys have many years of experience serving as assertive advocates for our clients.