In Essex County, Massachusetts, probate is the process in which a court validates or voids a will.
As part of the probate procedure, the court in Essex County, Massachusetts will determine the validity of the will, inventory the decedent's assets and debts, then, assuming everything is found to be in order, distribute the estate according to the will.
Usually, the executor of the estate is named in the will. However, if nobody is named as an executor, the probate court in Essex County, Massachusetts will appoint an administrator to serve the role as the executor. This is usually the closest adult relative of the decedent, or the person who stands to inherit the most.
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 incentive to move the process along as quickly as possible, so they can get their inheritance.
Duties of the Executor in Essex County, Massachusetts
The executor has several duties concerning the will. First of all, they have to actually initiate the probate proceedings with the court, and this procedure has to be finished before the will takes effect.
Executors must also inform anyone with an interest in the will of the death of the decedent. People with an interest in the outcome of probate are those who are named in the will, or anyone who would likely inherit if the will is invalidated (close relatives, for the most part).
Executors are also required to make available an accounting of the testator's debts and assets, so their affairs can be wound up, along with a list of everyone who is named in the will, or otherwise stands to inherit.
As the representative of the estate, the executor has to take charge of the probate process, filing the necessary court papers, and, if necessary, hiring an attorney for help. If the estate is large, and the executor stands to inherit a great deal of money once this process is complete, they'll probably find it to be worth the time and expense.
How Can A Essex County, Massachusetts Lawyer Help?
Because of the complexities involved in probate, it would be a good idea to consult with and retain an Essex County, Massachusetts attorney who specializes in probate, especially if you are the executor of an estate.