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 decedent wrote a will before his or her death in Ruidoso, New Mexico, the process will be carried out according to the directives contained in the will, assuming they are valid and enforceable.
The decedent usually 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 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 completed.
What if The Will Does Not Name an Executor?
If a will in Ruidoso, New Mexico 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.
This is typically the person who will benefit the most if the will is executed. If there is no will (a situation known as "intestacy"), New Mexico has a system of laws distributing the decedent's property to his or her closest living relative. In such a situation, the closest living relative has the most to gain from an orderly administration of the estate, so they will typically be appointed.
If the will doesn't name a person who is to serve as executor, or the person named is no longer alive or cannot be found, anyone with a direct interest in the will can apply to the Ruidoso, New Mexico court to be the executor.
Whoever is appointed to serve as executor, it is their job to act as the representative of the estate. Among other jobs, they have to account for the decedent's debts and assets, and inform any beneficiaries who might be unaware of the situation.
Can a Ruidoso, New Mexico Estate Administration Attorney Help?
If you have unexpectedly been appointed to be the executor of a relative's estate, and don't know how to handle this process, you should speak with a good Ruidoso, New Mexico wills and trusts attorney.