In South Pasadena, California, probate is the process through which a Court determines if a will is valid or not.
As part of this process, the South Pasadena, 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 normally name the person who is to serve as executor of the estate. If no executor is named, the South Pasadena, California court will appoint an executor. This is normally the person who stands to gain the most if the will is found to be valid.
The executor is the person who has to get the ball rolling on the probate process, and essentially serves as a living embodiment of the decedent's estate. It is their job to defend the estate from debtors (if a legitimate defense for the debt exists, of course), and wind up any legal proceedings that the decedent might have been immersed in. If an executor needs to be appointed, a court normally chooses the person who will inherit the most if the will is given effect, since that person will have the most incentive to carry out the duties of the executor.
Duties of the Executor in South Pasadena, California
The executor has many duties with respect to the will. First, it is his or her job to actually initiate probate proceedings, which often must be completed before the will is given effect.
Executors must also notify anyone with an interest in the will of the death of the decedent. Individuals 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).
There may be many people who are entitled to take under a testator's will, with which the testator may have fallout out of touch years ago. This can make them hard to find, but they need to be found, nonetheless. To that end, the executor is obligated to make a list of everyone who might be able to inherit, whether they're named in the will, or closely related to the testator. Additionally, they have to make known all of the decedent's major assets and debts.
Additionally, the executor is obligated to take a leading role in showing the validity of the will. The executor obviously has an incentive to see the process through, since they cannot inherit until probate is complete.
How Can A South Pasadena, California Lawyer Help?
Because of the intricacies involved in probate, it would be smart to hire a brilliant South Pasadena, California probate lawyer, especially if you are the executor of an estate and unsure how to proceed.