Fargo, North Dakota has a legal process known as "probate." This is when a court determines whether or not a will is lawful, and, accordingly, whether or not to effectuate its provisions.
In the probate process, a Fargo, 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 decided to be valid, the court will distribute the property according to its clauses.
Wills usually name the person who is to serve as executor of the estate. If no executor is named, the Fargo, 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 legitimate.
The executor is the individual 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 reason to help the process go as quickly as possible, so they can get their inheritance.
Duties of the Executor in Fargo, North Dakota
Executors of estates have a several distinct responsibilities. First, the executor must start the probate proceedings. Probate almost always needs to be finalized before the property in an estate can be released according to the terms of the will.
Furthermore, the executor has to make sure that the decedent's relatives and other people named in the will have notice of the testator's death, usually through the filing of a copy of the official death certificate.
If the decedent was even reasonably well-off financially, it's likely that they'll have significant amounts of both debts and assets. The executor is tasked with creating 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.
Furthermore, the executor is obligated to take the lead in proving the validity of the will, effectively acting as the living embodiment of the decedent's estate. The executor is usually the person who will inherit the most once the will goes through probate, so they have a good reason to put in the work to do this.
How Can A Fargo, North Dakota Lawyer Help?
Because this process can be fairly perplexing, it is not a bad idea to consult with a reputable probate lawyer in Fargo, North Dakota, especially if you find yourself as the executor of an estate and don't know how to proceed.