"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 Benton Harbor, Michigan, the process will be carried out according to the directives contained in the will, assuming they are valid and enforceable.
Most often, a will names a person to serve as executor, whose job it is to ensure that the estate is properly administered.
The executor is commonly the person who will get the most money or property out of the will if it is given effect, because this is the person who will have the greatest incentive to see that the probate process goes as quickly as possible.
What if The Will Does Not Name an Executor?
If a Benton Harbor, Michigan 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.
Normally, this will be the person who has the most to receive from the will, or who would gain the most under Michigan'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 Benton Harbor, Michigan court to be the executor.
Once an executor is appointed (whether by being named in the will, or on the application of another person), they "step into the shoes" of the estate, and are expected to protect its interests to the fullest extent possible. They also are required to accurately inventory the estate's debts and assets, as well as notify potential beneficiaries.
Can a Benton Harbor, Michigan Estate Administration Attorney Help?
If you are the administrator of an estate, and are not a legal and/or financial professional, you might face legal or tax issues with which you are unfamiliar. A Benton Harbor, Michigan attorney would be extremely helpful in such a situation.