Estate administration, in basic terms, is the process of maintenance and distribution of a person's assets after they die.
If the decedent has made a will in Washington, Iowa, the process will play out according to the instructions stated in the will.
Typically, wills appoint an executor who is responsible for overseeing the administration of the estate, and seeing that its provisions are carried out, to the extent possible.
The executor is typically whoever stands to obtain the most money or property if the will is given effect, since that is the person who likely has the most incentive to do their part in seeing that the probate process plays out to completion.
What if The Will Does Not Name an Executor?
If a will in Washington, Iowa does not name a person to serve as executor, or the decedent dies without having written a will, the court will appoint a person to act as estate administrator.
This is most frequently the person who stands to gain the most from the will, or who would inherit the most under Iowa'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.
If the will doesn't name anyone as executor, or the person who was named as executor is no longer living or cannot be found, anyone who has a direct interest in the will in Washington, Iowa can apply to the court to be the executor.
Once an executor is finally named, he or she becomes responsible for serving as the living embodiment of the estate, using all legal means to protect the estate's interests (such as mounting plausible legal defenses against creditors).
Can a Washington, Iowa Estate Administration Attorney Help?
If you are the administrator of an estate, and are not a legal and/or financial professional, you might confront legal or tax issues with which you are unfamiliar. A Washington, Iowa attorney would be quite helpful in such a situation.