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 Erie 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 Erie 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 would inherit most under the will, or under the intestacy scheme of New York. Intestacy is when a person dies without having made a will, or if a will turns out to be invalid. The intestacy laws of each state control how property is distributed in such a situation. In most states, it simply goes to the closest living relative.
In cases where the will doesn't name an executor, or the person named is unable to take on that role for whatever reason, any person who has some direct stake in the decedent's estate (either because they're named in the will or stand to inherit by intestacy) can petition an Erie County, New York court to be appointed executor.
Whoever ends up as the executor, it is their responsibility to serve as the personal representative of the estate. They will be responsible 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 Erie County, New York Estate Administration Attorney Help?
Some people are surprised when they find out they've been named the executor of a relative's estate. The responsibilities can seem daunting, but with the help of a knowledgeable Erie County, New York attorney, the process almost always goes pretty smoothly.