In Polk County, Iowa, probate is the process through which a Court determines if a will is valid or not.
As part of this procedure, the court in Polk County, Iowa has several important responsibilities. Most importantly, it has to decide if the will is valid, and consider evidence that it is not (if any such evidence exists). The probate court then has to ensure that the property is distributed in an orderly manner, as close to the terms of the will (assuming it is valid) as possible.
The executor of the estate is commonly named in the will. If not, the probate court in Polk County, Iowa will name will appoint a person to serve as executor. This is usually the person who stands to inherit the most under the will.
The executor is the person responsible for initiating the probate proceedings. The person who would inherit the most from the will is appointed, because they have the greatest incitement to move the process along as quickly as possible, so they can get their inheritance.
Duties of the Executor in Polk County, Iowa
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.
Additionally, the executor has to make sure that the decedent's relatives and other people named in the will have notice of the testator's death, usually through the filing of a copy of the official death certificate.
Because people who stand to inherit from the testator may be scattered around the country, or even the world, contacting them is sometimes difficult. One of the responsibilities of the executor is to compile a list of everyone who is entitled to inherit from the decedent, so attempts to contact them can be made. They also have to account for all the testator's debts and assets.
Furthermore, the executor is required to take a leading role in proving the validity of the will. The executor obviously has an incentive to see the process through, since they cannot inherit until probate is complete.
How Can A Polk County, Iowa Lawyer Help?
Because of the complexities inherent in the probate process, it is a good idea to hire an experienced Polk County, Iowa probate lawyer, particularly for the executors of estates.