When a person dies, a process recognized as "estate administration" must be carried out. This refers to all the procedures which must be followed in distributing a person's estate to their heirs or devisees.
If the decedent (the person who died) left a will, the process of estate administration in Jefferson County Missouri will normally be carried out according to the instructions in the will.
The decedent normally names in the will an executor of his or her estate. The executor is the person whose job it is to take the lead role in the administration of an estate.
The executor typically has at least some work cut out for them. This evidently raises the issue of compensation. The easiest way to ensure that the executor does his or her job is simply to appoint the person who has the most to gain from the will. That way, they cannot inherit until the process is finished.
What if The Will Does Not Name an Executor?
If the will in Jefferson County, Missouri does not name an executor, or the decedent left no will to be found, the court has to appoint a person to serve as the administrator of the estate.
Normally, the person chosen to be executor is the one who would benefit most under the will, or under Missouri's intestacy laws. "Intestacy" refers to a situation in which a person dies without a will, or "dies intestate." Every state has laws to address this situation, and there isn't a lot of variation from state to state. Normally, the decedent's property will go to his or her closest relative, and if absolutely no living relatives can be found, it will go to the state.
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 Jefferson County, Missouri 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 Jefferson County, Missouri 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 Jefferson County, Missouri attorney would be extremely helpful in such a situation.