In Winona Lake, Indiana, probate is the process in which a court validates or voids a will.
During probate, the court in Winona Lake, Indiana will determine the validity of the will, distinguish 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 often name a person as the executor of the estate. If not, the court in Winona Lake, Indiana will name one. This is most often the adult individual who stands to inherit the most money or property from the will.
Because the executor is responsible for actually initiating probate proceedings and seeing them to completion, the person chosen for this role is often the one who stands to inherit the most from the will - giving them an incentive to put in the necessary time and effort.
Duties of the Executor in Winona Lake, Indiana
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 finished 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.
If the decedent was even somewhat well-off financially, it's likely that they'll have significant amounts of both debts and assets. The executor is tasked with creating an accurate accounting of the debts and assets of the estate, so as much of the decedent's debts can be paid off as possible.
Finally, executors have to actually put forth the effort to prove that a will is valid. As the sole legal representative of the estate, this is their job, and is required for them to inherit, giving them an incentive.
How Can A Winona Lake, Indiana Lawyer Help?
Because of the complexities involved in probate, it would be a good idea to consult with and retain a Winona Lake, Indiana attorney who specializes in probate, especially if you are the executor of an estate.