When a person dies, a process recognized as "estate administration" must be carried out. This refers to all the processes which must be followed in distributing a person's estate to their heirs or devisees.
If the person who died made and executed a valid will in High Point, North Carolina, the process of estate administration normally follows the procedures and instructions laid out in the will.
Commonly, the will appoints an executor whose job it is to oversee the administration of the will.
The executor typically has at least some work cut out for them. This evidently raises the issue of compensation. The easiest way to guarantee 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 finalized.
What if The Will Does Not Name an Executor?
If a High Point, North Carolina will does not assign anyone to serve as executor, or there is no will, the court has to choose someone to fill that role.
This is most commonly the person who would inherit most under the will, or under the intestacy scheme of North Carolina. Intestacy is when a person dies without having made a will, or if a will turns out to be invalid. The intestacy laws of each state govern how property is distributed in such a situation. In most states, it simply goes to the closest living relative.
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 share in the decedent's estate (either because they're named in the will or stand to inherit by intestacy) can petition a High Point, North Carolina court to be assigned executor.
When the executor is chosen, they serve as a sort of incarnation of the decedent's estate - the estate's legal interests become the executor's interests, and the executor is expected to safeguard the estate's interests as they would their own.
Can a High Point, 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 seasoned High Point, North Carolina wills and trusts attorney.