In Bonne Terre, Missouri, probate is the process in which a court validates or voids a will.
As part of this procedure, the court in Bonne Terre, Missouri has various 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.
Wills typically name the person who is to serve as executor of the estate. If no executor is named, the Bonne Terre, Missouri court will appoint an executor. This is typically the person who stands to gain the most if the will is found to be valid.
The basic duty of the executor is to serve as the living incarnation of the estate. Their job is to begin probate proceedings, and see them to completion. If an executor has to be appointed by the court, it will typically be the person who stands to inherit the most from the will, as he or she has an incentive to make every effort to avoid delay.
Duties of the Executor in Bonne Terre, Missouri
The executor has various 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.
Additionally, it's the executor's job to notify all involved parties that the person who made the will has died. "Interested parties" are usually people who are named in the will, or who would inherit the estate if the decedent had died without a will.
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 collect a list of everyone who is entitled to inherit from the decedent, so attempts to contact them can be made. They additionally have to account for all the testator's debts and assets.
Because the executor serves as the living symbol of the decedent's estate, they are solely responsible for proving the validity of the will. This is a lot of work, but because executors are typically 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 completion.
How Can A Bonne Terre, Missouri Lawyer Help?
Because this process can be fairly intricate, it is not a bad idea to consult with a knowledgeable probate lawyer in Bonne Terre, Missouri, especially if you find yourself as the executor of an estate and don't know how to proceed.