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 Angeles, California, the estate is usually administered in a way that follows the instructions the will lays out, as closely as possible.
The decedent normally 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 normally has some work ahead of them. To ensure that they really 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 Angeles, 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 usually the person who will benefit the most if the will is executed. If there is no will (a situation recognized 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 usually 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 Angeles, California court to be the executor.
Once an executor is assigned (whether by being named in the will, or on the application of another person), they "step into the shoes" of the estate, and are expected to safeguard its interests to the fullest extent possible. They further are obligated to accurately inventory the estate's debts and assets, as well as notify possible beneficiaries.
Can a Los Angeles, California Estate Administration Attorney Help?
If you are the administrator of an estate, and are not a legal and/or financial professional, you might face legal or tax issues with which you are unfamiliar. A Los Angeles, California attorney would be extremely helpful in such a situation.