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 Broome County, New York, 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 person named as executor of an estate typically has some work ahead of them. To ensure that they truly 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 Broome County, New York 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 normally the person who will benefit the most if the will is executed. If there is no will (a situation identified as "intestacy"), New York 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 normally be appointed.
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 Broome County, New York can apply to the court to be the executor.
Whoever ends up as the executor, it is their responsibility to serve as the personal representative of the estate. They will be accountable for taking account of all of the decedent's assets and debts, as well as notifying beneficiaries who may be estranged from the decedent, among other things.
Can a Broome County, New York 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 Broome County, New York lawyer who can help you navigate this sometimes-convoluted process.