"Estate administration" refers to the procedure 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 regulating 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 Southwick, Massachusetts, the process will be carried out according to the directives included in the will, assuming they are legitimate and enforceable.
Often, the will appoints an executor whose job it is to oversee the administration of the will.
The person named as executor of an estate usually has some work ahead of them. To ensure that they actually follow through on their commitments, 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 Southwick, Massachusetts will does not assign anyone to serve as executor, or there is no will, the court has to choose someone to fill that role.
Usually, 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. Usually, 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 individual named is no longer alive or cannot be found, anyone with a direct interest in the will can apply to the Southwick, Massachusetts court to be the executor.
Once an executor is finally named, he or she becomes responsible for serving as the living embodiment of the estate, utilizing all legal means to protect the estate's interests (such as mounting plausible legal defenses against creditors).
Can a Southwick, 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 experienced Southwick, Massachusetts lawyer who can help you navigate this sometimes-confusing process.