Estate administration, in basic terms, is the process of maintenance and distribution of a person's assets after they die.
If the decedent wrote a will before his or her death in Elsmere, Delaware, the process will be carried out according to the directives contained in the will, assuming they are valid and enforceable.
The decedent typically names in the will an executor of his or her estate. The executor is the person whose job it is to take the lead role in the administration of an estate.
The executor is typically the person who stands to inherit the most money or property from the will, since this personn will have the greatest incentive to see the probate and administration process to completion.
What if The Will Does Not Name an Executor?
If the will in Elsmere, Delaware does not name an executor, or the decedent left no will to be found, the court has to appoint a person to serve as the administrator of the estate.
This is most frequently the person who stands to gain the most from the will, or who would inherit the most under Delaware'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 typically distributes the property to the closest living relatives of the decedent, assuming they can be located.
In cases where the will doesn't name an executor, or the person named is unable to take on that role for whatever reason, any person who has some direct stake in the decedent's estate (either because they're named in the will or stand to inherit by intestacy) can petition an Elsmere, Delaware court to be appointed executor.
Once an executor is appointed (whether by being named in the will, or on the application of another person), they "step into the shoes" of the estate, and are expected to protect its interests to the fullest extent possible. They also are required to accurately inventory the estate's debts and assets, as well as notify potential beneficiaries.
Can a Elsmere, Delaware Estate Administration Attorney Help?
Some people are surprised when they find out they've been named the executor of a relative's estate. The responsibilities can seem daunting, but with the help of a knowledgeable Elsmere, Delaware attorney, the process almost always goes pretty smoothly.