"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 Southampton, Massachusetts, the process will be carried out according to the directives contained in the will, assuming they are valid and enforceable.
Commonly, the will appoints an executor whose job it is to oversee the administration of the will.
The person named as executor of an estate normally has some work ahead of them. To ensure that they really follow through on their obligations, most people name as executor the person who will get the most money, or other benefit, if the will is given effect as written. Because an estate can't be distributed until the administration process is complete, the executor has an incentive to see it through.
What if The Will Does Not Name an Executor?
If a Southampton, Massachusetts will does not appoint anyone to serve as executor, or there is no will, the court has to choose someone to fill that role.
Normally, the person chosen to be executor is the one who would benefit most under the will, or under Massachusetts's intestacy laws. "Intestacy" refers to a situation in which a person dies without a will, or "dies intestate." Every state has laws to address this situation, and there isn't a lot of variation from state to state. Normally, the decedent's property will go to his or her closest relative, and if absolutely no living relatives can be found, it will go to the state.
If the will doesn't name a person who is to serve as executor, or the person named is no longer alive or cannot be found, anyone with a direct interest in the will can apply to the Southampton, Massachusetts court to be the executor.
Whoever ends up as the executor, it is their responsibility to serve as the personal representative of the estate. They will be responsible for taking account of all of the decedent's assets and debts, as well as notifying beneficiaries who may be estranged from the decedent, among other things.
Can a Southampton, Massachusetts 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 Southampton, Massachusetts attorney, the process almost always goes pretty smoothly.