Probate Attorney in West Des Moines, Iowa
In West Des Moines, Iowa, probate is the process through which a Court determines if a will is valid or not.
As part of this procedure, the court in West Des Moines, Iowa has several important responsibilities. Most importantly, it has to decide if the will is valid, and consider evidence that it is not (if any such evidence exists). The probate court then has to ensure that the property is distributed in an orderly manner, as close to the terms of the will (assuming it is valid) as possible.
The executor of the estate is commonly named in the will. If not, the probate court in West Des Moines, Iowa will name will appoint a person to serve as executor. This is usually the person who stands to inherit the most under the will.
Because the executor is responsible for actually initiating probate proceedings and seeing them to completion, the person chosen for this role is often the one who stands to inherit the most from the will - giving them an incentive to put in the necessary time and effort.
Duties of the Executor in West Des Moines, Iowa
The executor has several duties with respect to the will. First, it is his or her job to actually initiate probate proceedings, which often must be completed before the will is given effect.
Additionally, the executor has to make sure that the decedent's relatives and other people named in the will have notice of the testator's death, usually through the filing of a copy of the official death certificate.
Because people who stand to inherit from the testator may be scattered around the country, or even the world, contacting them is sometimes difficult. 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.
Because the executor serves as the living embodiment of the decedent's estate, they are solely responsible for proving the validity of the will. This is a lot of work, but because executors are usually chosen based on how much they stand to inherit from a will once its validity is confirmed, they have a good incentive to see the process to completion.
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How Can A West Des Moines, Iowa Lawyer Help?
Because of the complexities involved in probate, it would be smart to hire a good West Des Moines, Iowa probate lawyer, especially if you are the executor of an estate and unsure how to proceed.