"Estate administration" refers to the process which must be followed when the estate of a person who has recently died is being distributed, either according to his or her wishes as laid out in a will, or the laws governing the distribution of the assets of a person who dies without a will.
If the decedent (the person who died) left a will, the process of estate administration in Lafayette Indiana will normally be carried out according to the instructions in the will.
Most often, a will names a person to serve as executor, whose job it is to ensure that the estate is properly administered.
The executor is commonly the person who will get the most money or property out of the will if it is given effect, because this is the person who will have the greatest incentive to see that the probate process goes as quickly as possible.
What if The Will Does Not Name an Executor?
If a will in Lafayette, Indiana 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 commonly the person who would inherit most under the will, or under the intestacy scheme of Indiana. Intestacy is when a person dies without having made a will, or if a will turns out to be invalid. The intestacy laws of each state govern how property is distributed in such a situation. In most states, it simply goes to the closest living relative.
In cases where the will doesn't name an executor, or the person named is unable to take on that role for whatever reason, any person who has some direct stake in the decedent's estate (either because they're named in the will or stand to inherit by intestacy) can petition a Lafayette, Indiana court to be appointed executor.
When the executor is chosen, they serve as a sort of incarnation of the decedent's estate - the estate's legal interests become the executor's interests, and the executor is expected to protect the estate's interests as they would their own.
Can a Lafayette, Indiana Estate Administration Attorney Help?
Some people are surprised when they find out they've been named the executor of a relative's estate. The responsibilities can seem daunting, but with the help of a brilliant Lafayette, Indiana attorney, the process almost always goes pretty smoothly.