When a person dies, a process recognized as "estate administration" must be carried out. This refers to all the processes which must be followed in distributing a person's estate to their heirs or devisees.
If the decedent wrote a will before his or her death in Bernalillo, New Mexico, the process will be carried out according to the directives included in the will, assuming they are legitimate and enforceable.
Commonly, the will appoints an executor whose job it is to oversee the administration of the will.
The person named as executor of an estate normally has some work ahead of them. To ensure that they really follow through on their commitments, 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 Bernalillo, New Mexico will does not name an executor, or no will exists or can be found, it's up to the local court to determine who should be the executor.
This is usually the person who will benefit the most if the will is executed. If there is no will (a situation recognized as "intestacy"), New Mexico has a system of laws distributing the decedent's property to his or her closest living relative. In such a case, the closest living relative has the most to gain from an orderly administration of the estate, so they will usually be appointed.
If the will doesn't name a person who is to serve as executor, or the individual named is no longer alive or cannot be found, anyone with a direct interest in the will can apply to the Bernalillo, New Mexico court to be the executor.
Once an executor is assigned (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 safeguard its interests to the fullest extent possible. They further are obligated to accurately inventory the estate's debts and assets, as well as notify possible beneficiaries.
Can a Bernalillo, New Mexico 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 accomplished Bernalillo, New Mexico lawyer who can help you navigate this sometimes-complicated process.