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Making the case for professional estate administration

9/12/2016 | Kaplin Stewart Blog

For many Pennsylvania residents, hammering out the details of a complex estate plan can be an arduous process. Once all of the documents have been properly drafted and all essential decisions have been made, the time comes to determine who will be tasked with handling estate administration duties. Many families assume that the role of estate administration should be given to a surviving spouse or adult child. In many cases, however, family members are poorly suited for the task at hand.

For example, consider a family in which the husband has managed all aspects of household finances over the course of many decades. Although his wife may have only good intentions, she may lack the financial skills needed to handle estate administration duties. In addition, a surviving spouse is likely to be overcome with emotion after the loss of a partner. This is the worst possible timeframe in which to be asked to handle complex financial matters.

In the case of adult children, there are many instances in which a child is ill-equipped to handle the responsibility of estate administration. Some may lack the emotional maturity or financial savvy needed to gather assets, contact the appropriate parties and proceed with distributing wealth and property to the designated heirs. In the worst-case scenario, asking a child to handle these matters can place him or her in a difficult position in relation to other siblings or extended family members.

A solution lies in handing over estate administration duties to a qualified professional. Many Pennsylvania estate planning attorneys also specialize in estate administration and can handle all aspects of putting one’s plan into motion when the time comes. Choosing professional estate administration services allows loved ones the time and space needed to process the grieving process that comes with the loss of a family member, and is a gift beyond measure.

Source:, “Estate Planning: Choose the right person for the job“, Matthew Wallace, Sept. 9, 2016