Why do I need an estate representative when my loved one dies?
The most frequently asked question of us is: “Why do I need an estate rep when my spouse, or father or mother dies? Why can’t the checks be sent directly to me since I’m the only surviving heir”?
Trust me, if we had a choice, we would much rather send the checks from settlements in your loved one’s lawsuit directly to you, but the law mandates that a representative of the estate be appointed to carry on the lawsuit after the person who started the suit dies. The estate rep can be appointed in the will of the deceased, or, in the absence of a will, the family can decide who the representative for the deceased should be. The estate representative must sign medical releases, settlement check releases and make other decisions for the estate, just as the deceased would have done had he or she lived to the conclusion of the lawsuit. This can seem cumbersome, especially in a situation where the surviving spouse is the only beneficiary of the lawsuit proceeds. Keep in mind however that in many cases there are multiple heirs, with multiple opinions on issues that arise in the lawsuit and each may be entitled to a part of the proceeds. The estate rep makes sure that all goes smoothly.
We now write wills and open estates for our clients in Pennsylvania and West Virginia. If you are in need of such services please give us a call and let us know! We will be happy to help you with these matters.