When a person dies, a process identified 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 Dutchess County, New York, the process will be carried out according to the directives contained in the will, assuming they are valid and enforceable.
Most frequently, a will names a person to serve as executor, whose job it is to ensure that the estate is properly administered.
The executor is frequently the person who will get the most money or property out of the will if it is given effect, because this is the person who will have the greatest incentive to see that the probate process goes as quickly as possible.
What if The Will Does Not Name an Executor?
If a will in Dutchess County, New York 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 most frequently the person who stands to gain the most from the will, or who would inherit the most under New York's intestacy laws. Intestacy is the system that every state has in order to deal with the property of people who die without a will. It typically distributes the property to the closest living relatives of the decedent, assuming they can be located.
When a will is silent as to who should be the executor, any person who has some direct interest in the outcome can ask to be named executor by the Dutchess County, New York court.
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 Dutchess County, New York Estate Administration Attorney Help?
If you are the administrator of an estate, and are not a legal and/or financial professional, you might confront legal or tax issues with which you are unfamiliar. A Dutchess County, New York attorney would be quite helpful in such a situation.