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 Cortland, New York, the process will be carried out according to the directives contained in the will, assuming they are valid and enforceable.
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 is usually the person who stands to inherit the most money or property from the will, since this personn 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 Cortland, New York will does not name an executor, or no will exists or can be found, it's up to the local court to decide who should be the executor.
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 York 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 no executor is named in the will, anyone with a stake in the will can apply to the court in Cortland, New York to be the executor of the estate, if they wish.
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 Cortland, New York Estate Administration Attorney Help?
If you are the executor of an estate, and don't know how to handle some of the legal and financial complexities that may arise, an experienced Cortland, New York lawyer can make this process a great deal easier.