In Westfield, Massachusetts, probate is the procedure in which a court validates or voids a will.
As part of the probate procedure, the court in Westfield, Massachusetts will decide the validity of the will, inventory the decedent's assets and debts, then, assuming everything is deemed to be in order, distribute the estate according to the will.
Typically, the executor of the estate is named in the will. However, if nobody is named as an executor, the probate court in Westfield, Massachusetts will assign an administrator to serve the role as the executor. This is typically the closest adult relative of the decedent, or the person who stands to inherit the most.
The executor is the person who has to get the ball rolling on the probate process, and basically serves as a living representation of the decedent's estate. It is their job to defend the estate from debtors (if a legitimate defense for the debt exists, of course), and wind up any legal proceedings that the decedent might have been engaged in. If an executor needs to be appointed, a court typically chooses the person who will inherit the most if the will is given effect, since that person will have the most motivation to carry out the duties of the executor.
Duties of the Executor in Westfield, Massachusetts
The executor has many duties regarding the will. First, they have to truly initiate the probate proceedings, which must be finalized before the will is effectuated.
They additionally are obligated to provide notice to the people with a direct interest in the estate that the decedent has died, typically by filing a death certificate.
Executors are also obliged to make accessible an accounting of the testator's debts and assets, so their affairs can be wound up, along with a list of everybody 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 proper court papers, and, if necessary, hiring an attorney for guidance. If the estate is large, and the executor stands to inherit a great deal of money once this process is done, they'll probably find it to be worth the time and expense.
How Can A Westfield, Massachusetts Lawyer Help?
Because this can be (though isn't always) a fairly complicated process, it's a good idea to get a reliable probate lawyer in Westfield, Massachusetts, especially if you find yourself being the executor of an estate, and aren't sure how to proceed.