"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 Topsfield, Massachusetts, the process will be carried out according to the directives contained in the will, assuming they are valid 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 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 will in Topsfield, Massachusetts is silent as to who should be the executor, it is up to the court to decide who should serve in that capacity.
Usually, this will be the person who has the most to gain from the will, or who would gain the most under Massachusetts's intestacy scheme (the system that distributes the decedent's property to his or her closest living relatives, if he or she dies without a will).
In cases where the will doesn't name an executor, or the person named is unable to take on that role for whatever reason, any person who has some direct stake in the decedent's estate (either because they're named in the will or stand to inherit by intestacy) can petition a Topsfield, Massachusetts court to be appointed executor.
When the executor is chosen, they serve as a sort of incarnation of the decedent's estate - the estate's legal interests become the executor's interests, and the executor is expected to protect the estate's interests as they would their own.
Can a Topsfield, 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 good Topsfield, Massachusetts attorney, the process almost always goes pretty smoothly.