Estate administration, in basic terms, is the procedure 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 Altos, California, the estate is normally administered in a way that follows the instructions the will lays out, as closely as possible.
The decedent typically 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 typically has some work ahead of them. To ensure that they truly follow through on their commitments, 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 Altos, California will does not name an executor, or no will exists or can be found, it's up to the local court to determine who should be the executor.
This is normally the person who will benefit the most if the will is executed. If there is no will (a situation identified as "intestacy"), California has a system of laws distributing the decedent's property to his or her closest living relative. In such a case, the closest living relative has the most to gain from an orderly administration of the estate, so they will normally be appointed.
If the will doesn't name a person who is to serve as executor, or the individual named is no longer alive or cannot be found, anyone with a direct interest in the will can apply to the Los Altos, California court to be the executor.
Whoever is assigned to serve as executor, it is their job to act as the representative of the estate. Among other jobs, they have to account for the decedent's debts and assets, and inform any beneficiaries who might be unaware of the situation.
Can a Los Altos, California Estate Administration Attorney Help?
Some people are surprised when they find out they've been named the executor of a relative's estate. The responsibilities can seem daunting, but with the help of a reliable Los Altos, California attorney, the process almost always goes pretty smoothly.