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 Douglas County, Nebraska, the process of estate administration usually follows the procedures and instructions laid out in the will.
Wills typically name an executor. The executor's role revolves around ensuring that the instructions in the will are implemented.
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 will in Douglas County, Nebraska does not name a person to serve as executor, or the decedent dies without having written a will, the court will appoint a person to act as estate administrator.
Usually, the person chosen to be executor is the one who would benefit most under the will, or under Nebraska's intestacy laws. "Intestacy" refers to a situation in which a person dies without a will, or "dies intestate." Every state has laws to address this situation, and there isn't a lot of variation from state to state. Usually, the decedent's property will go to his or her closest relative, and if absolutely no living relatives can be found, it will go to the state.
If the will doesn't name anyone as executor, or the person who was named as executor is no longer living or cannot be found, anyone who has a direct interest in the will in Douglas County, Nebraska can apply to the court to be the executor.
Once an executor is finally named, he or she becomes responsible for serving as the living embodiment of the estate, using all legal means to protect the estate's interests (such as mounting plausible legal defenses against creditors).
Can a Douglas County, Nebraska 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 Douglas County, Nebraska lawyer who can help you navigate this sometimes-confusing process.