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 Collier County, Florida, 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 usually has at least some work cut out for them. This apparently raises the issue of compensation. The easiest way to ensure that the executor does his or her job is simply to appoint the person who has the most to gain from the will. That way, they cannot inherit until the process is finished.
What if The Will Does Not Name an Executor?
If the will in Collier County, Florida 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 normally the person who will benefit the most if the will is executed. If there is no will (a situation identified as "intestacy"), Florida has a system of laws distributing the decedent's property to his or her closest living relative. In such a situation, the closest living relative has the most to gain from an orderly administration of the estate, so they will normally be appointed.
If the will doesn't name a person who is to serve as executor, or the person named is no longer alive or cannot be found, anyone with a direct interest in the will can apply to the Collier County, Florida court to be the 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 Collier County, Florida Estate Administration Attorney Help?
If you find yourself named in a will as executor of an estate, and aren't sure how to meet your responsibilities, or where to begin, it would be a good idea to consult with an efficient Collier County, Florida lawyer who can help you navigate this sometimes-difficult process.