Oak Grove, 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 Oak Grove, 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, an Oak Grove, 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 Oak Grove, Missouri
The executor has several duties concerning the will. First of all, they have to actually initiate the probate proceedings with the court, and this procedure has to be finished before the will takes effect.
Executors must also inform anyone with an interest in the will of the death of the decedent. People with an interest in the outcome of probate are those who are named in the will, or anyone who would likely inherit if the will is invalidated (close relatives, for the most part).
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 Oak Grove, Missouri Lawyer Help?
Because of the complexities inherent in the probate process, it is a good idea to hire an experienced Oak Grove, Missouri probate lawyer, particularly for the executors of estates.