Probate Attorney in Gadsden, Alabama
In Gadsden, Alabama, probate is the process through which a Court decides if a will is valid or not.
In the probate process, a Gadsden, 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 Gadsden, 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 representation 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 inducement to carry out the duties of the executor.
Duties of the Executor in Gadsden, Alabama
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 finalized before the will is given effect.
They also are obligated to provide notice to the people with a direct interest in the estate that the decedent has died, usually by filing a death certificate.
There may be various people who are entitled to take under a testator's will, with which the testator may have fallout out of touch years ago. This can make them difficult to find, but they need to be found, nonetheless. To that end, the executor is required to make a list of everyone who might be able to inherit, whether they're named in the will, or closely related to the testator. Furthermore, they have to make known all of the decedent's major assets and debts.
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 can be (though isn't always) a fairly perplexing process, it's a good idea to get a reputable probate lawyer in Gadsden, Alabama, especially if you find yourself being the executor of an estate, and aren't sure how to proceed.