When a person dies, a process identified 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 Dona Ana County, New Mexico, the process will be carried out according to the directives included in the will, assuming they are legitimate and enforceable.
The decedent typically names in the will an executor of his or her estate. The executor is the person whose job it is to take the lead role in the administration of an estate.
The executor is typically the person who stands to inherit the most money or property from the will, since this individualn will have the greatest incentive to see the probate and administration process to completion.
What if The Will Does Not Name an Executor?
If a will in Dona Ana County, New Mexico is silent as to who should be the executor, it is up to the court to determine who should serve in that capacity.
Typically, the person chosen to be executor is the one who would benefit most under the will, or under New Mexico'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. Typically, 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 individual who was named as executor is no longer living or cannot be found, anyone who has a direct interest in the will in Dona Ana County, New Mexico can apply to the court to be the executor.
When the executor is chosen, they serve as a sort of incarnation of the decedent's estate - the estate's legal interests become the executor's interests, and the executor is expected to safeguard the estate's interests as they would their own.
Can a Dona Ana County, 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 efficient Dona Ana County, New Mexico lawyer who can help you navigate this sometimes-convoluted process.