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 Sonoma County, 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 person named as executor of an estate usually has some work ahead of them. To ensure that they actually follow through on their commitments, most people name as executor the person who will get the most money, or other benefit, if the will is given effect as written. Because an estate can't be distributed until the administration process is complete, the executor has an incentive to see it through.
What if The Will Does Not Name an Executor?
If a will in Sonoma County, 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.
When a will is silent as to who should be the executor, any individual who has some direct interest in the result can ask to be named executor by the Sonoma County, California court.
Whoever is assigned to serve as executor, it is their job to act as the representative of the estate. Among other jobs, they have to account for the decedent's debts and assets, and inform any beneficiaries who might be unaware of the situation.
Can a Sonoma County, California Estate Administration Attorney Help?
If you have unexpectedly been appointed to be the executor of a relative's estate, and don't know how to handle this process, you should speak with a reputable Sonoma County, California wills and trusts attorney.