Estate administration, in basic terms, is the process of maintenance and distribution of a person's assets after they die.
If the decedent had the foresight to draft and execute a will in Los Alamitos, California, the estate is typically administered in a way that follows the instructions the will lays out, as closely as possible.
The decedent usually names in the will an executor of his or her estate. The executor is the person whose job it is to take the lead role in the administration of an estate.
The person named as executor of an estate usually has some work ahead of them. To ensure that they actually follow through on their obligations, most people name as executor the person who will get the most money, or other benefit, if the will is given effect as written. Because an estate can't be distributed until the administration process is complete, the executor has an incentive to see it through.
What if The Will Does Not Name an Executor?
If a Los Alamitos, California will does not name an executor, or no will exists or can be found, it's up to the local court to decide who should be the executor.
This is typically the person who will benefit the most if the will is executed. If there is no will (a situation known as "intestacy"), California has a system of laws distributing the decedent's property to his or her closest living relative. In such a situation, the closest living relative has the most to gain from an orderly administration of the estate, so they will typically be appointed.
If the will doesn't name a person who is to serve as executor, or the person named is no longer alive or cannot be found, anyone with a direct interest in the will can apply to the Los Alamitos, California court to be the executor.
Whoever ends up as the executor, it is their responsibility to serve as the personal representative of the estate. They will be responsible for taking account of all of the decedent's assets and debts, as well as notifying beneficiaries who may be estranged from the decedent, among other things.
Can a Los Alamitos, California Estate Administration Attorney Help?
If you have unexpectedly been appointed to be the executor of a relative's estate, and don't know how to handle this process, you should speak with a good Los Alamitos, California wills and trusts attorney.