In St. Joseph, Illinois, probate is the procedure in which a court validates or voids a will.
During probate, the court in St. Joseph, Illinois will decide the validity of the will, determine and inventory the decedent's assets, account for the decedent's debts and back taxes, and distribute the decedent's property, among other things.
Wills typically name the person who is to serve as executor of the estate. If no executor is named, the St. Joseph, Illinois court will appoint an executor. This is typically the person who stands to gain the most if the will is found to be legitimate.
The executor is the person accountable for initiating the probate proceedings. The person who would inherit the most from the will is appointed, because they have the greatest reason to move the process along as quickly as possible, so they can get their inheritance.
Duties of the Executor in St. Joseph, Illinois
The executor has many duties regarding the will. First, they have to truly initiate the probate proceedings, which must be done before the will is effectuated.
Furthermore, 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, typically 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 challenging. One of the responsibilities of the executor is to collect a list of everyone who is entitled to inherit from the decedent, so attempts to contact them can be made. They additionally have to account for all the testator's debts and assets.
Lastly, executors have to actually put forth the effort to establish that a will is valid. As the sole legal representative of the estate, this is their job, and is obligated for them to inherit, giving them an incentive.
How Can A St. Joseph, Illinois Lawyer Help?
Because this process can be fairly confusing, it is not a bad idea to consult with a reliable probate lawyer in St. Joseph, Illinois, especially if you find yourself as the executor of an estate and don't know how to proceed.