Winterville, North Carolina has a legal process known as "probate." This is when a court decides whether or not a will is lawful, and, accordingly, whether or not to effectuate its provisions.
In the probate process, a Winterville, North Carolina probate court has many duties, including ruling on a will's validity, making an inventory of the estate's assets, and making note of all the decedent's debts. Once the will is determined to be valid, the court will distribute the property according to its terms.
Normally, the executor of the estate is named in the will. However, if nobody is named as an executor, the probate court in Winterville, North Carolina will appoint an administrator to serve the role as the executor. This is normally the closest adult relative of the decedent, or the person who stands to inherit the most.
The executor is the person who has to get the ball rolling on the probate process, and essentially serves as a living symbol 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 immersed in. If an executor needs to be appointed, a court normally chooses the person who will inherit the most if the will is given effect, since that person will have the most reason to carry out the duties of the executor.
Duties of the Executor in Winterville, North Carolina
There are quite a few things that an executor is responsible for. At the outset, they are required to file the probate action with the appropriate court. No progress, let alone any final disposition of the estate, can be made until this happens.
The executor also has to give those with a direct interest in the will notice that the decedent has died, by filing an official death certificate.
If the decedent was even somewhat well-off financially, it's likely that they'll have considerable amounts of both debts and assets. The executor is tasked with formulating 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.
As the representative of the estate, the executor has to take charge of the probate process, filing the required court papers, and, if necessary, hiring an attorney for help. If the estate is large, and the executor stands to inherit a great deal of money once this process is fulfilled, they'll probably find it to be worth the time and expense.
How Can A Winterville, North Carolina Lawyer Help?
Because of the intricacies involved in probate, it would be a brilliant idea to consult with and retain a Winterville, North Carolina attorney who specializes in probate, especially if you are the executor of an estate.