In South Berwick, Maine, probate is the process in which a court validates or voids a will.
As part of the probate procedure, the court in South Berwick, Maine 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.
Wills commonly name a person as the executor of the estate. If not, the court in South Berwick, Maine will name one. This is most often the adult individual who stands to inherit the most money or property from the will.
The executor is the person who initiates probate proceedings. The person who stands to inherit the most from the will is normally appointed the executor, because they will have the most motivation to help the process go as quickly as possible, so they can get their inheritance.
Duties of the Executor in South Berwick, Maine
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.
Executors must also notify anyone with an interest in the will of the death of the decedent. Individuals with an interest in the outcome of probate are those who are named in the will, or anyone who would likely inherit if the will is invalidated (close relatives, for the most part).
There may be several 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.
Additionally, the executor is obligated to take a leading role in showing the validity of the will. The executor obviously has an incentive to see the process through, since they cannot inherit until probate is complete.
How Can A South Berwick, Maine Lawyer Help?
Because of the intricacies inherent in the probate process, it is a good idea to hire an accomplished South Berwick, Maine probate lawyer, particularly for the executors of estates.