In Santa Monica, California, probate is the process through which a Court determines if a will is valid or not.
As part of this process, the Santa Monica, 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 Santa Monica, 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 responsible 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 Santa Monica, California
The executor has many duties concerning the will. First of all, they have to actually initiate the probate proceedings with the court, and this procedure has to be completed before the will takes effect.
They also are required to provide notice to the people with a direct interest in the estate that the decedent has died, usually by filing a death certificate.
The executor will also have to compile and make available a list of all of the decedent's debts and assets, as well as a list of those who stand to inherit from the decedent.
Because the executor serves as the living embodiment of the decedent's estate, they are solely responsible for proving the validity of the will. This is a lot of work, but because executors are usually chosen based on how much they stand to inherit from a will once its validity is confirmed, they have a good incentive to see the process to completion.
How Can A Santa Monica, California Lawyer Help?
Because this process can be fairly complicated, it is not a bad idea to consult with a good probate lawyer in Santa Monica, California, especially if you find yourself as the executor of an estate and don't know how to proceed.