Probate Attorney in Gulf Shores, Alabama
In Gulf Shores, Alabama, probate is the process through which a Court decides if a will is valid or not.
In the probate process, a Gulf Shores, Alabama probate court has several duties, including ruling on a will's validity, making an inventory of the estate's assets, and making note of all the decedent's debts. Once the will is decided to be valid, the court will distribute the property according to its clauses.
The executor of the estate is commonly named in the will. If not, the probate court in Gulf Shores, Alabama will name will appoint a person to serve as executor. This is usually the person who stands to inherit the most under the will.
The executor is the person who has to get the ball rolling on the probate process, and basically serves as a living personification of the decedent's estate. It is their job to defend the estate from debtors (if a legitimate defense for the debt exists, of course), and wind up any legal proceedings that the decedent might have been involved in. If an executor needs to be appointed, a court usually chooses the person who will inherit the most if the will is given effect, since that person will have the most motivation to carry out the duties of the executor.
Duties of the Executor in Gulf Shores, Alabama
Executors of estates have a several distinct responsibilities. First, the executor must start the probate proceedings. Probate almost always needs to be done before the property in an estate can be released according to the terms of the will.
Executors must also inform anyone with an interest in the will of the death of the decedent. People with an interest in the outcome of probate are those who are named in the will, or anyone who would likely inherit if the will is invalidated (close relatives, for the most part).
Because people who stand to inherit from the testator may be scattered around the country, or even the world, contacting them is sometimes challenging. One of the responsibilities of the executor is to compile a list of everyone who is entitled to inherit from the decedent, so attempts to contact them can be made. They also have to account for all the testator's debts and assets.
Furthermore, the executor is required to take a leading role in proving the validity of the will. The executor obviously has an incentive to see the process through, since they cannot inherit until probate is complete.
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Because this process can be fairly perplexing, it is not a bad idea to consult with a reputable probate lawyer in Gulf Shores, Alabama, especially if you find yourself as the executor of an estate and don't know how to proceed.