If there is no will, the estate administration process is commenced by the filing of a Petition for Letters of Administration. The petition can be filed by someone entitled to benefit from the estate. Generally speaking, this can include a relative, surviving spouse or even a creditor of the decedent. If the petition is granted, the person is appointed administrator or administratrix of the estate and is authorized and empowered to administer the estate just as an executor or executrix would be in the case of a will. One of the main differences between an estate administration involving a will and one without is that in the case of a will, distribution to beneficiaries is governed by the terms of the will. In the case of an estate without a will, state law governs how the estate will be distributed.
See the “Estate Administration and Probate Process Explained” for more information or call Attorney Joseph Adams at 215-996-9977.