Greenwood, Missouri has a legal process known as "probate." This is when a court decides whether or not a will is binding, and, accordingly, whether or not to effectuate its provisions.
During probate, the court in Greenwood, Missouri will determine the validity of the will, distinguish and inventory the decedent's assets, account for the decedent's debts and back taxes, and distribute the decedent's property, among other things.
Most wills name a specific person as the executor of the estate, but sometimes they don't, or the named executor is dead, out of the court's jurisdiction, or otherwise unsuitable to serve in this capacity. In these cases, a Greenwood, Missouri probate court has to appoint one.
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 usually 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 Greenwood, Missouri
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.
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.
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 usually 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 Greenwood, Missouri Lawyer Help?
Because this can be (though isn't always) a fairly complex process, it's a good idea to get a good probate lawyer in Greenwood, Missouri, especially if you find yourself being the executor of an estate, and aren't sure how to proceed.