In Lathrop, California, probate is the process through which a Court determines if a will is valid or not.
As part of this process, the Lathrop, 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 unfit to serve in this capacity. In these cases, a Lathrop, 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 embodiment 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 immersed in. If an executor needs to be appointed, a court normally chooses the person who will inherit the most if the will is given effect, since that person will have the most incitement to carry out the duties of the executor.
Duties of the Executor in Lathrop, California
The executor has many duties concerning the will. First, they have to really initiate the probate proceedings, which must be completed before the will is effectuated.
They further are required to provide notice to the people with a direct interest in the estate that the decedent has died, normally by filing a death certificate.
There may be many 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 hard to find, but they need to be found, nonetheless. To that end, the executor is obligated 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. Additionally, they have to make known all of the decedent's major assets and debts.
Because the executor serves as the living embodiment 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 normally 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.
How Can A Lathrop, California Lawyer Help?
Because this can be (though isn't always) a fairly difficult process, it's a good idea to get a brilliant probate lawyer in Lathrop, California, especially if you find yourself being the executor of an estate, and aren't sure how to proceed.