In Pacifica, California, probate is the process through which a Court determines if a will is valid or not.
As part of this process, the Pacifica, 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.
Wills usually name the person who is to serve as executor of the estate. If no executor is named, the Pacifica, California court will appoint an executor. This is usually the person who stands to gain the most if the will is found to be valid.
The executor is the person who initiates probate proceedings. The person who stands to inherit the most from the will is usually appointed the executor, because they will have the most motivation to help the process go as quickly as possible, so they can get their inheritance.
Duties of the Executor in Pacifica, California
The executor has several duties concerning the will. First of all, they have to actually initiate the probate proceedings with the court, and this procedure has to be finished before the will takes effect.
Executors must also inform anyone with an interest in the will of the death of the decedent. People with an interest in the outcome of probate are those who are named in the will, or anyone who would likely inherit if the will is invalidated (close relatives, for the most part).
Because people who stand to inherit from the testator may be scattered around the country, or even the world, contacting them is sometimes difficult. One of the responsibilities of the executor is to compile a list of everyone who is entitled to inherit from the decedent, so attempts to contact them can be made. They also have to account for all the testator's debts and assets.
Furthermore, the executor is required to take a leading role in proving the validity of the will. The executor obviously has an incentive to see the process through, since they cannot inherit until probate is complete.
How Can A Pacifica, California Lawyer Help?
Because of the complexities involved in probate, it would be smart to hire a good Pacifica, California probate lawyer, especially if you are the executor of an estate and unsure how to proceed.