When a person dies, a process known 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 Oak Ridge, North Carolina, the process of estate administration usually follows the procedures and instructions laid out in the will.
Often, the will appoints an executor whose job it is to oversee the administration of the will.
The executor is usually whoever stands to acquire 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 will in Oak Ridge, North Carolina is silent as to who should be the executor, it is up to the court to determine who should serve in that capacity.
Usually, this will be the person who has the most to gain from the will, or who would gain the most under North Carolina's intestacy scheme (the system that distributes the decedent's property to his or her closest living relatives, if he or she dies without a will).
When a will is silent as to who should be the executor, any individual who has some direct interest in the result can ask to be named executor by the Oak Ridge, North Carolina court.
Once an executor is assigned (whether by being named in the will, or on the application of another person), they "step into the shoes" of the estate, and are expected to safeguard its interests to the fullest extent possible. They further are obligated to accurately inventory the estate's debts and assets, as well as notify possible beneficiaries.
Can a Oak Ridge, North Carolina Estate Administration Attorney Help?
If you find yourself named in a will as executor of an estate, and aren't sure how to meet your responsibilities, or where to begin, it would be a good idea to consult with an experienced Oak Ridge, North Carolina lawyer who can help you navigate this sometimes-difficult process.