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 Oakland, California, the estate is usually administered in a way that follows the instructions the will lays out, as closely as possible.
Wills usually name an executor. The executor's role revolves around ensuring that the instructions in the will are implemented.
The executor is normally the person who stands to inherit the most money or property from the will, since this personn will have the greatest incentive to see the probate and administration process to completion.
What if The Will Does Not Name an Executor?
If the will in Oakland, California does not name an executor, or the decedent left no will to be found, the court has to appoint a person to serve as the administrator of the estate.
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 situation, 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 person named is no longer alive or cannot be found, anyone with a direct interest in the will can apply to the Oakland, 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 Oakland, California Estate Administration Attorney Help?
If you find yourself named in a will as executor of an estate, and aren't sure how to meet your responsibilities, or where to begin, it would be a good idea to consult with an accomplished Oakland, California lawyer who can help you navigate this sometimes-convoluted process.