In La Habra, California, probate is the process through which a Court decides if a will is valid or not.
As part of this procedure, the La Habra, California probate court will decide the validity of the will, inventory the decedent's assets and debts, and then, lastly, distribute the estate according to the will, assuming it is deemed to be valid.
Most wills name a particular person as the executor of the estate, but sometimes they don't, or the named executor is deceased, out of the court's jurisdiction, or otherwise unsuited to serve in this capacity. In these situations, a La Habra, California probate court has to assign one.
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 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 incentive to carry out the duties of the executor.
Duties of the Executor in La Habra, California
The executor has many duties regarding the will. First, they have to truly initiate the probate proceedings, which must be finalized before the will is effectuated.
Additionally, it's the executor's job to notify all affected parties that the person who made the will has died. "Interested parties" are usually people who are named in the will, or who would inherit the estate if the decedent had died without a will.
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 guidance. 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 La Habra, California Lawyer Help?
Because of the difficulties inherent in the probate process, it is a good idea to hire an efficient La Habra, California probate lawyer, particularly for the executors of estates.