When a person dies, a process known 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 person who died made and executed a valid will in Bismarck, North Dakota, 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 person named as executor of an estate usually has some work ahead of them. To ensure that they actually follow through on their obligations, most people name as executor the person who will get the most money, or other benefit, if the will is given effect as written. Because an estate can't be distributed until the administration process is complete, the executor has an incentive to see it through.
What if The Will Does Not Name an Executor?
If a Bismarck, North Dakota will does not name an executor, or no will exists or can be found, it's up to the local court to decide who should be the executor.
This is most often the person who stands to gain the most from the will, or who would inherit the most under North Dakota'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 usually distributes the property to the closest living relatives of the decedent, assuming they can be located.
When a will is silent as to who should be the executor, any person who has some direct interest in the outcome can ask to be named executor by the Bismarck, North Dakota court.
Whoever ends up as the executor, it is their responsibility to serve as the personal representative of the estate. They will be responsible for taking account of all of the decedent's assets and debts, as well as notifying beneficiaries who may be estranged from the decedent, among other things.
Can a Bismarck, North Dakota Estate Administration Attorney Help?
If you are the executor of an estate, and don't know how to handle some of the legal and financial complexities that may arise, an experienced Bismarck, North Dakota lawyer can make this process a great deal easier.