Kansas City, Missouri has a legal process known as "probate." This is when a court decides whether or not a will is valid, and, accordingly, whether or not to effectuate its provisions.
During probate, the court in Kansas City, Missouri will determine the validity of the will, identify 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 unfit to serve in this capacity. In these cases, a Kansas City, Missouri probate court has to appoint one.
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 Kansas City, Missouri
The executor has several duties with respect to the will. First, it is his or her job to actually initiate probate proceedings, which often must be completed before the will is given effect.
Also, it's the executor's job to notify all interested parties that the person who made the will has died. "Interested parties" are generally 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 compile a list of everyone who is entitled to inherit from the decedent, so attempts to contact them can be made. They also have to account for all the testator's debts and assets.
Furthermore, the executor is required to take a leading role in proving the validity of the will. The executor obviously has an incentive to see the process through, since they cannot inherit until probate is complete.
How Can A Kansas City, Missouri Lawyer Help?
Because this process can be fairly complicated, it is not a bad idea to consult with a good probate lawyer in Kansas City, Missouri, especially if you find yourself as the executor of an estate and don't know how to proceed.