"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 Williamstown, 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 Williamstown, Massachusetts will does not name an executor, or no will exists or can be found, it's up to the local court to decide who should be the executor.
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).
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 Williamstown, 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, using all legal means to protect the estate's interests (such as mounting plausible legal defenses against creditors).
Can a Williamstown, 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 Williamstown, Massachusetts lawyer who can help you navigate this sometimes-convoluted process.