Probate Attorney in Hawthorne, California
In Hawthorne, California, probate is the process through which a Court determines if a will is valid or not.
As part of this process, the Hawthorne, California probate court will determine the validity of the will, inventory the decedent's assets and debts, and then, finally, distribute the estate according to the will, assuming it is found to be valid.
Most wills name a specific person as the executor of the estate, but sometimes they don't, or the named executor is dead, out of the court's jurisdiction, or otherwise unsuitable to serve in this capacity. In these cases, a Hawthorne, California probate court has to appoint one.
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 inducement to carry out the duties of the executor.
Duties of the Executor in Hawthorne, California
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 finished before the will is given effect.
Also, it's the executor's job to notify all involved parties that the person who made the will has died. "Interested parties" are generally people who are named in the will, or who would inherit the estate if the decedent had died without a will.
If the decedent was even somewhat well-off financially, it's likely that they'll have significant amounts of both debts and assets. The executor is tasked with creating an accurate accounting of the debts and assets of the estate, so as much of the decedent's debts can be paid off as possible.
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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How Can A Hawthorne, California Lawyer Help?
Because this can be (though isn't always) a fairly complex process, it's a good idea to get a good probate lawyer in Hawthorne, California, especially if you find yourself being the executor of an estate, and aren't sure how to proceed.