In Fort Smith, Arkansas, probate is the process through which a Court decides if a will is valid or not.
In the probate process, a Fort Smith, Arkansas probate court has various 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.
Wills typically name the person who is to serve as executor of the estate. If no executor is named, the Fort Smith, Arkansas court will appoint an executor. This is typically the person who stands to gain the most if the will is found to be legitimate.
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 engaged in. If an executor needs to be appointed, a court typically 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 Fort Smith, Arkansas
The executor has various duties with respect to the will. First, it is his or her job to actually initiate probate proceedings, which often must be done before the will is given effect.
Executors must also alert anyone with an interest in the will of the death of the decedent. Persons 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 collect a list of everyone who is entitled to inherit from the decedent, so attempts to contact them can be made. They additionally have to account for all the testator's debts and assets.
As the representative of the estate, the executor has to take charge of the probate process, filing the proper court papers, and, if necessary, hiring an attorney for advice. If the estate is large, and the executor stands to inherit a great deal of money once this process is done, they'll probably find it to be worth the time and expense.
How Can A Fort Smith, Arkansas Lawyer Help?
Because of the difficulties involved in probate, it would be a reliable idea to consult with and retain a Fort Smith, Arkansas attorney who specializes in probate, especially if you are the executor of an estate.