In Worcester County, Massachusetts, probate is the process in which a court validates or voids a will.
As part of the probate procedure, the court in Worcester County, Massachusetts will determine the validity of the will, inventory the decedent's assets and debts, then, assuming everything is found to be in order, distribute the estate according to the will.
Normally, the executor of the estate is named in the will. However, if nobody is named as an executor, the probate court in Worcester County, Massachusetts will appoint an administrator to serve the role as the executor. This is normally 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 essentially serves as a living embodiment 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 immersed in. If an executor needs to be appointed, a court normally chooses the person who will inherit the most if the will is given effect, since that person will have the most incentive to carry out the duties of the executor.
Duties of the Executor in Worcester County, Massachusetts
There are quite a few things that an executor is responsible for. At the outset, they are required to file the probate action with the appropriate court. No progress, let alone any final disposition of the estate, can be made until this happens.
The executor also has to give those with a direct interest in the will notice that the decedent has died, by filing an official death certificate.
There may be many people who are entitled to take under a testator's will, with which the testator may have fallout out of touch years ago. This can make them hard to find, but they need to be found, nonetheless. To that end, the executor is obligated to make a list of everyone who might be able to inherit, whether they're named in the will, or closely related to the testator. Additionally, they have to make known all of the decedent's major assets and debts.
Because the executor serves as the living embodiment of the decedent's estate, they are solely responsible for proving the validity of the will. This is a lot of work, but because executors are normally chosen based on how much they stand to inherit from a will once its validity is confirmed, they have a good incentive to see the process to completion.
How Can A Worcester County, Massachusetts Lawyer Help?
Because this can be (though isn't always) a fairly difficult process, it's a good idea to get a brilliant probate lawyer in Worcester County, Massachusetts, especially if you find yourself being the executor of an estate, and aren't sure how to proceed.