Probate Attorney in Headland, Alabama
In Headland, Alabama, probate is the process through which a Court determines if a will is valid or not.
In the probate process, a Headland, 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 determined to be valid, the court will distribute the property according to its terms.
The executor of the estate is commonly named in the will. If not, the probate court in Headland, 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 essentially serves as a living symbol 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 incentive to carry out the duties of the executor.
Duties of the Executor in Headland, Alabama
Executors of estates have a several distinct responsibilities. First, the executor must start the probate proceedings. Probate almost always needs to be finished before the property in an estate can be released according to the terms of the will.
They also are required to provide notice to the people with a direct interest in the estate that the decedent has died, usually by filing a death certificate.
The executor will also have to compile and make available a list of all of the decedent's debts and assets, as well as a list of those who stand to inherit from the decedent.
Because the executor serves as the living symbol 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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Because this can be (though isn't always) a fairly complex process, it's a good idea to get a good probate lawyer in Headland, Alabama, especially if you find yourself being the executor of an estate, and aren't sure how to proceed.