"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 wrote a will before his or her death in Northbridge, Massachusetts, the process will be carried out according to the directives contained in the will, assuming they are valid and enforceable.

Frequently, the will appoints an executor whose job it is to oversee the administration of the will.

The executor usually has at least some work cut out for them. This apparently raises the issue of compensation. The easiest way to ensure that the executor does his or her job is simply to appoint the person who has the most to gain from the will. That way, they cannot inherit until the process is finished.

What if The Will Does Not Name an Executor?

If the will in Northbridge, Massachusetts does not name an executor, or the decedent left no will to be found, the court has to appoint a person to serve as the administrator of the estate.

This is normally the person who will benefit the most if the will is executed. If there is no will (a situation identified as "intestacy"), Massachusetts has a system of laws distributing the decedent's property to his or her closest living relative. In such a situation, the closest living relative has the most to gain from an orderly administration of the estate, so they will normally be appointed.

If no executor is named in the will, anyone with a stake in the will can apply to the court in Northbridge, Massachusetts to be the executor of the estate, if they wish.

Once an executor is appointed (whether by being named in the will, or on the application of another person), they "step into the shoes" of the estate, and are expected to protect its interests to the fullest extent possible. They also are required to accurately inventory the estate's debts and assets, as well as notify potential beneficiaries.

Can a Northbridge, Massachusetts Estate Administration Attorney Help?

If you find yourself named in a will as executor of an estate, and aren't sure how to meet your responsibilities, or where to begin, it would be a good idea to consult with an efficient Northbridge, Massachusetts lawyer who can help you navigate this sometimes-complicated process.