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 Dover, New Hampshire, the process of estate administration usually follows the procedures and instructions laid out in the will.
Most commonly, a will names a person to serve as executor, whose job it is to ensure that the estate is properly administered.
The executor generally has at least some work cut out for them. This obviously raises the issue of compensation. The easiest way to ensure that the executor does his or her job is simply to appoint the person who has the most to gain from the will. That way, they cannot inherit until the process is finished.
What if The Will Does Not Name an Executor?
If a Dover, New Hampshire will does not appoint anyone to serve as executor, or there is no will, the court has to choose someone to fill that role.
Usually, the person chosen to be executor is the one who would benefit most under the will, or under New Hampshire'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 no executor is named in the will, anyone with a stake in the will can apply to the court in Dover, New Hampshire to be the executor of the estate, if they wish.
Once an executor is appointed (whether by being named in the will, or on the application of another person), they "step into the shoes" of the estate, and are expected to protect its interests to the fullest extent possible. They also are required to accurately inventory the estate's debts and assets, as well as notify potential beneficiaries.
Can a Dover, New Hampshire Estate Administration Attorney Help?
Some people are surprised when they find out they've been named the executor of a relative's estate. The responsibilities can seem daunting, but with the help of a good Dover, New Hampshire attorney, the process almost always goes pretty smoothly.