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 Palo Alto, California, the estate is typically administered in a way that follows the instructions the will lays out, as closely as possible.
Wills typically name an executor. The executor's role revolves around ensuring that the instructions in the will are implemented.
The executor is usually 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 Palo Alto, 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.
Usually, the person chosen to be executor is the one who would benefit most under the will, or under California's intestacy laws. "Intestacy" refers to a situation in which a person dies without a will, or "dies intestate." Every state has laws to address this situation, and there isn't a lot of variation from state to state. Usually, the decedent's property will go to his or her closest relative, and if absolutely no living relatives can be found, it will go to the state.
If no executor is named in the will, anyone with a stake in the will can apply to the court in Palo Alto, California to be the executor of the estate, if they wish.
When the executor is chosen, they serve as a sort of incarnation of the decedent's estate - the estate's legal interests become the executor's interests, and the executor is expected to protect the estate's interests as they would their own.
Can a Palo Alto, 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 good Palo Alto, California attorney, the process almost always goes pretty smoothly.