In Fernandina Beach, Florida, probate is the process through which a Court decides if a will is valid or not.
As part of the probate procedure, the court in Fernandina Beach, Florida will decide the validity of the will, inventory the decedent's assets and debts, then, assuming everything is deemed to be in order, distribute the estate according to the will.
Most wills name a particular person as the executor of the estate, but sometimes they don't, or the named executor is deceased, out of the court's jurisdiction, or otherwise inadequate to serve in this capacity. In these situations, a Fernandina Beach, Florida probate court has to assign one.
The executor is the person who has to get the ball rolling on the probate process, and basically serves as a living personification 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 incitement to carry out the duties of the executor.
Duties of the Executor in Fernandina Beach, 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 done before the will is given effect.
They also are obligated to provide notice to the people with a direct interest in the estate that the decedent has died, usually by filing a death certificate.
There may be numerous 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 difficult to find, but they need to be found, nonetheless. To that end, the executor is required 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. Furthermore, they have to make known all of the decedent's major assets and debts.
Because the executor serves as the living personification of the decedent's estate, they are solely accountable for proving the validity of the will. This is a lot of work, but because executors are usually chosen based on how much they stand to inherit from a will once its validity is confirmed, they have a good incentive to see the process to finalization.
How Can A Fernandina Beach, Florida Lawyer Help?
Because this can be (though isn't always) a fairly perplexing process, it's a good idea to get a reputable probate lawyer in Fernandina Beach, Florida, especially if you find yourself being the executor of an estate, and aren't sure how to proceed.