In Temecula, California, probate is the process through which a Court determines if a will is valid or not.
As part of this process, the Temecula, 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 Temecula, 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 who has to get the ball rolling on the probate process, and essentially serves as a living symbol 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 involved in. If an executor needs to be appointed, a court usually chooses the person who will inherit the most if the will is given effect, since that person will have the most reason to carry out the duties of the executor.
Duties of the Executor in Temecula, California
Executors of estates have a several distinct responsibilities. First, the executor must start the probate proceedings. Probate almost always needs to be finished before the property in an estate can be released according to the terms of the will.
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).
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.
Finally, executors have to actually put forth the effort to prove that a will is valid. As the sole legal representative of the estate, this is their job, and is required for them to inherit, giving them an incentive.
How Can A Temecula, California Lawyer Help?
Because this process can be fairly complicated, it is not a bad idea to consult with a good probate lawyer in Temecula, California, especially if you find yourself as the executor of an estate and don't know how to proceed.