Legal Question in Wills and Trusts in Pennsylvania

becoming executrix of husbands estate

Do I need legal representation to be appointed executrix of my husband's estate? My husband died suddenly without a will, 98% of our holdings were in both names..I discovered some stocks, originally part of his life insurance..the life ins co. converted into a finacial holdings co and merged with another co in 2004. I have been infomred by this co. there was no beneficary or co-owner listed. I am sure my husband didn't think this was necessary since they were part of his original life ins. policy. The current co. informs me I must be appointed executrix or pay a hefty fee to transfer the stocks to my name. Await your kind advise, if I can just go to the local court house and make application for executrix.

Thank you

Thank you

Asked on 8/17/06, 2:26 pm

2 Answers from Attorneys

Bonnie Moses Dessen, Moses & Rossitto
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Re: becoming executrix of husbands estate

I general, assets titled in your husband's name can only be accessed through the Probate process, and once an estate is probate the PA department of revenue will be looking for an inheritance tax return, even though there is no no tax due between spouses.

To discuss this more, please email our Estate specialist, Samuel Rossitto, at srossitt@dms-lawyer.com to schedule a free phone consultation.

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8/17/06, 4:21 pm
Miriam Jacobson Law Offices of Miriam N. Jacobson
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Re: becoming executrix of husbands estate

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Re: becoming executrix of husbands estate

Category:Probate, Trusts, Wills & Estates

Posted: 8/17/2006

In-Reply-To: becoming executrix of husbands estate

Subject: Re: becoming executrix of husbands estate

First, my condolences on your loss.

You may go to the office of the Register of Wills for the County where your husband resided at the time of his death and ask for help with a Petition for Letters of Administration. You will be appointed Administratrix or Personal Representative (these titles describe the same function as Executrix, which is used only when there was a will).

Those offices are usually helpful and will give you the forms that you need to complete, as well as Notices that you must fill in and send to all heirs, and a status report indicating that you have sent the Notice. Their packet will also include forms for preparing an Inventory (listing everything in your husband's estate) and the PA Inheritance Tax Return.

You should also advertise the opening of your husband's estate, so that a period of one year will begin to run for creditors to make their claims against the estate. After the year concludes, they may not assert any claim. Of course, those creditors of which you have knowledge must be paid, if there are sufficient estate assets.

You may want to get assistance of a lawyer and an accountant, depending on the complexity of your late husband's assets. It will also be your responsibility to find out all of his debts and if the assets in the estate are sufficient, to pay all of the debts, before distributing the assets to yourself and any other heirs entitled to distribution.

PA law dictates the order in which debts must be paid, and also dictates who the legal intestate (where there is no will) heirs are.

You may be personally liable to creditors of your husband's estate if you distribute assets before paying debts.

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8/17/06, 5:43 pm

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