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 Petaluma, 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 guaranteeing that the instructions in the will are implemented.
The executor is often the person who will get the most money or property out of the will if it is given effect, because this is the person who will have the greatest incentive to see that the probate process goes as rapidly as possible.
What if The Will Does Not Name an Executor?
If a will in Petaluma, California does not name a person to serve as executor, or the decedent dies without having written a will, the court will assign a person to act as estate administrator.
This is most often the person who stands to gain the most from the will, or who would inherit the most under California's intestacy laws. Intestacy is the system that every state has in order to deal with the property of people who die without a will. It usually distributes the property to the closest living relatives of the decedent, assuming they can be located.
In cases where the will doesn't name an executor, or the person named is unable to take on that role for whatever reason, any person who has some direct share in the decedent's estate (either because they're named in the will or stand to inherit by intestacy) can petition a Petaluma, California court to be assigned 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 Petaluma, California Estate Administration Attorney Help?
If you are the executor of an estate, and don't know how to handle some of the legal and financial complexities that may arise, an experienced Petaluma, California lawyer can make this process a great deal easier.