In Petaluma, California, probate is the process through which a Court decides if a will is valid or not.
As part of this procedure, the Petaluma, California probate court will decide the validity of the will, inventory the decedent's assets and debts, and then, lastly, distribute the estate according to the will, assuming it is deemed to be valid.
Wills usually name the person who is to serve as executor of the estate. If no executor is named, the Petaluma, California court will appoint an executor. This is usually the person who stands to gain the most if the will is found to be legitimate.
The executor is the person accountable for initiating the probate proceedings. The person who would inherit the most from the will is appointed, because they have the greatest incentive to move the process along as quickly as possible, so they can get their inheritance.
Duties of the Executor in Petaluma, California
The executor has several duties with respect to the will. First, it is his or her job to actually initiate probate proceedings, which often must be finalized before the will is given 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 challenging. 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.
As the representative of the estate, the executor has to take charge of the probate process, filing the necessary court papers, and, if necessary, hiring an attorney for guidance. If the estate is large, and the executor stands to inherit a great deal of money once this process is complete, they'll probably find it to be worth the time and expense.
How Can A Petaluma, California Lawyer Help?
Because of the complexities inherent in the probate process, it is a good idea to hire an experienced Petaluma, California probate lawyer, particularly for the executors of estates.