In Cape Elizabeth, Maine, probate is the procedure in which a court validates or voids a will.
As part of the probate procedure, the court in Cape Elizabeth, Maine 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.
The executor of the estate is often named in the will. If not, the probate court in Cape Elizabeth, Maine will name will appoint a person to serve as executor. This is normally the person who stands to inherit the most under the will.
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 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 incitement to carry out the duties of the executor.
Duties of the Executor in Cape Elizabeth, Maine
Executors of estates have a many distinct responsibilities. First, the executor must start the probate proceedings. Probate almost always needs to be finalized before the property in an estate can be released according to the terms of the will.
The executor also has to provide those with a direct interest in the will notice that the decedent has deceased, by filing an official death certificate.
Because people who stand to inherit from the testator may be scattered around the country, or even the world, contacting them is sometimes challenging. One of the responsibilities of the executor is to gather a list of everyone who is entitled to inherit from the decedent, so attempts to contact them can be made. They further have to account for all the testator's debts and assets.
Because the executor serves as the living representation of the decedent's estate, they are solely accountable 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 finalization.
How Can A Cape Elizabeth, Maine Lawyer Help?
Because of the intricacies involved in probate, it would be smart to hire a seasoned Cape Elizabeth, Maine probate lawyer, especially if you are the executor of an estate and unsure how to proceed.