When a person dies, a process identified 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 Cumberland County North Carolina will typically be carried out according to the instructions in the will.
Most frequently, a will names a person to serve as executor, whose job it is to ensure that the estate is properly administered.
The executor is typically whoever stands to obtain the most money or property if the will is given effect, since that is the person who likely has the most incentive to do their part in seeing that the probate process plays out to completion.
What if The Will Does Not Name an Executor?
If a Cumberland County, North Carolina will does not appoint anyone to serve as executor, or there is no will, the court has to choose someone to fill that role.
This is most frequently the person who stands to gain the most from the will, or who would inherit the most under North Carolina's intestacy laws. Intestacy is the system that every state has in order to deal with the property of people who die without a will. It typically distributes the property to the closest living relatives of the decedent, assuming they can be located.
In cases where the will doesn't name an executor, or the person named is unable to take on that role for whatever reason, any person who has some direct stake in the decedent's estate (either because they're named in the will or stand to inherit by intestacy) can petition a Cumberland County, North Carolina court to be appointed executor.
Once an executor is finally named, he or she becomes responsible for serving as the living embodiment of the estate, using all legal means to protect the estate's interests (such as mounting plausible legal defenses against creditors).
Can a Cumberland County, North Carolina Estate Administration Attorney Help?
If you have unexpectedly been appointed to be the executor of a relative's estate, and don't know how to handle this process, you should speak with a knowledgeable Cumberland County, North Carolina wills and trusts attorney.