Devils Lake, North Dakota has a legal process known as "probate." This is when a court decides whether or not a will is legitimate, and, accordingly, whether or not to effectuate its provisions.
In the probate process, a Devils Lake, North Dakota probate court has several 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.
Wills usually name the person who is to serve as executor of the estate. If no executor is named, the Devils Lake, North Dakota court will appoint an executor. This is usually the person who stands to gain the most if the will is found to be valid.
The executor is the person who initiates probate proceedings. The person who stands to inherit the most from the will is usually appointed the executor, because they will have the most motivation to help the process go as quickly as possible, so they can get their inheritance.
Duties of the Executor in Devils Lake, North Dakota
Executors of estates have a several distinct responsibilities. First, the executor must start the probate proceedings. Probate almost always needs to be finished before the property in an estate can be released according to the terms of the will.
They also are required to provide notice to the people with a direct interest in the estate that the decedent has died, usually by filing a death certificate.
There may be several people who are entitled to take under a testator's will, with which the testator may have fallout out of touch years ago. This can make them difficult to find, but they need to be found, nonetheless. To that end, the executor is required to make a list of everyone who might be able to inherit, whether they're named in the will, or closely related to the testator. Additionally, they have to make known all of the decedent's major assets and debts.
Furthermore, the executor is required to take a leading role in proving the validity of the will. The executor obviously has an incentive to see the process through, since they cannot inherit until probate is complete.
How Can A Devils Lake, North Dakota Lawyer Help?
Because of the complexities inherent in the probate process, it is a good idea to hire an experienced Devils Lake, North Dakota probate lawyer, particularly for the executors of estates.