by: Begley Admin

4. The Process. While the administration of an estate can be complex, the steps are
relatively simple. In New Jersey the process is as follows:

  • Probate Will or apply for Letters of Adminstration
  • Inventory estate assets
  • Obtain Date of Death valuations
  • File state inheritance tax return, as required
  • File final income tax return
  • Distribute assets/retitle as necessary and fund applicable trusts

In Pennsylvania the process is as follows:

  • Probate Will or petition for appointment of Adminstration
  • Publication of appointment/publication of death
  • Inventory estate assets (including litigation proceeds)
  • Notice to Interested Parties
  • Obtain Date of Death values
  • File PA inheritance tax return and inventory with Register of Wills
  • NOTE: Return must be filed for every estate.
  • File final income tax return
  • Distribute assets/retitle as necessary/fund applicable trusts
  • File status reports as required by Register of Wills

While the process seems simple, it is complicated by the fact that financial institutions
are slow to give date of death values, taxing authorities are very slow to audit tax returns,
creditors of the estate have time to file claims, and state attorney generals have time to
review estates involving charitable bequests.

Personal injury attorneys often ask this firm to step in and take over the administration of an
estate that has already been started and has gone awry. It is much better for the personal injury
firm to suggest that the appropriate family members retain the services of an experienced trust
and estate law firm
that has a subpractice in personal injury consulting to assist in the probate
from the outset. Considerable time and money can be saved by doing things right from the