Pascagoula, Mississippi 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 Pascagoula, Mississippi 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.
Wills typically name the person who is to serve as executor of the estate. If no executor is named, the Pascagoula, Mississippi 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 executor is the person who has to get the ball rolling on the probate process, and essentially serves as a living embodiment of the decedent's estate. It is their job to defend the estate from debtors (if a legitimate defense for the debt exists, of course), and wind up any legal proceedings that the decedent might have been engaged in. If an executor needs to be appointed, a court typically chooses the person who will inherit the most if the will is given effect, since that person will have the most incentive to carry out the duties of the executor.
Duties of the Executor in Pascagoula, Mississippi
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 completed before the will is given effect.
Additionally, it's the executor's job to notify all interested 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.
If the decedent was even moderately well-off financially, it's likely that they'll have substantial amounts of both debts and assets. The executor is tasked with drafting an accurate accounting of the debts and assets of the estate, so as much of the decedent's debts can be paid off as possible.
Moreover, the executor is obliged to take a leading role in establishing 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 Pascagoula, Mississippi Lawyer Help?
Because this process can be fairly intricate, it is not a bad idea to consult with a knowledgeable probate lawyer in Pascagoula, Mississippi, especially if you find yourself as the executor of an estate and don't know how to proceed.