In St. Joseph, Michigan, probate is the process in which a court validates or voids a will.
As part of this procedure, the court in St. Joseph, Michigan has several important responsibilities. Most vitally, it has to decide if the will is valid, and consider evidence that it is not (if any such evidence exists). The probate court then has to ensure that the property is distributed in an orderly manner, as close to the terms of the will (assuming it is valid) as possible.
Usually, the executor of the estate is named in the will. However, if nobody is named as an executor, the probate court in St. Joseph, Michigan will appoint an administrator to serve the role as the executor. This is usually the closest adult relative of the decedent, or the person who stands to inherit the most.
Because the executor is responsible for actually initiating probate proceedings and seeing them to completion, the person chosen for this role is often the one who stands to inherit the most from the will - giving them an incentive to put in the necessary time and effort.
Duties of the Executor in St. Joseph, Michigan
The executor has many duties concerning the will. First, they have to actually initiate the probate proceedings, which must be finished before the will is effectuated.
Additionally, the executor has to make sure that the decedent's relatives and other people named in the will have notice of the testator's death, usually through the filing of a copy of the official death certificate.
Executors are also required to make available an accounting of the testator's debts and assets, so their affairs can be wound up, along with a list of everyone who is named in the will, or otherwise stands to inherit.
Furthermore, the executor is required to take the lead in proving the validity of the will, effectively acting as the living embodiment of the decedent's estate. The executor is usually the person who will inherit the most once the will goes through probate, so they have a good reason to put in the work to do this.
How Can A St. Joseph, Michigan Lawyer Help?
Because of the complexities involved in probate, it would be a good idea to consult with and retain a St. Joseph, Michigan attorney who specializes in probate, especially if you are the executor of an estate.