In Topsham, Maine, probate is the process in which a court validates or voids a will.
As part of the probate procedure, the court in Topsham, 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 often name a person as the executor of the estate. If not, the court in Topsham, 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 responsible for initiating the probate proceedings. The person who would inherit the most from the will is appointed, because they have the greatest inducement to move the process along as quickly as possible, so they can get their inheritance.
Duties of the Executor in Topsham, Maine
The executor has several duties with respect to the will. First, it is his or her job to actually initiate probate proceedings, which often must be finished before the will is given effect.
Executors must also inform anyone with an interest in the will of the death of the decedent. People 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).
Because people who stand to inherit from the testator may be scattered around the country, or even the world, contacting them is sometimes difficult. One of the responsibilities of the executor is to compile a list of everyone who is entitled to inherit from the decedent, so attempts to contact them can be made. They also have to account for all the testator's debts and assets.
Furthermore, the executor is required to take a leading role in proving 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 Topsham, Maine Lawyer Help?
Because this process can be fairly complicated, it is not a bad idea to consult with a good probate lawyer in Topsham, Maine, especially if you find yourself as the executor of an estate and don't know how to proceed.