In Duval County, Florida, probate is the process through which a Court determines if a will is valid or not.
As part of the probate procedure, the court in Duval County, Florida will determine the validity of the will, inventory the decedent's assets and debts, then, assuming everything is found to be in order, distribute the estate according to the will.
Most wills name a specific person as the executor of the estate, but sometimes they don't, or the named executor is dead, out of the court's jurisdiction, or otherwise unfit to serve in this capacity. In these cases, a Duval County, Florida probate court has to appoint one.
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 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 motivation to carry out the duties of the executor.
Duties of the Executor in Duval County, Florida
The executor has several 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 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).
Executors are also required to make available an accounting of the testator's debts and assets, so their affairs can be wound up, along with a list of everyone who is named in the will, or otherwise stands to inherit.
As the representative of the estate, the executor has to take charge of the probate process, filing the necessary court papers, and, if necessary, hiring an attorney for assistance. If the estate is large, and the executor stands to inherit a great deal of money once this process is complete, they'll probably find it to be worth the time and expense.
How Can A Duval County, Florida Lawyer Help?
Because of the complexities inherent in the probate process, it is a good idea to hire an experienced Duval County, Florida probate lawyer, particularly for the executors of estates.