Medford, New York has a legal process known as "probate." This is when a court decides whether or not a will is legal, and, accordingly, whether or not to effectuate its provisions.
As part of this procedure, the court in Medford, New York has various important responsibilities. Most vitally, it has to decide if the will is valid, and consider evidence that it is not (if any such evidence exists). The probate court then has to ensure that the property is distributed in an orderly manner, as close to the terms of the will (assuming it is valid) as possible.
Typically, the executor of the estate is named in the will. However, if nobody is named as an executor, the probate court in Medford, New York will appoint an administrator to serve the role as the executor. This is typically the closest adult relative of the decedent, or the person who stands to inherit the most.
The executor is the person responsible for initiating the probate proceedings. The person who would inherit the most from the will is appointed, because they have the greatest inducement to move the process along as quickly as possible, so they can get their inheritance.
Duties of the Executor in Medford, New York
There are quite a few things that an executor is responsible for. At the outset, they are required to file the probate action with the appropriate court. No progress, let alone any final disposition of the estate, can be made until this happens.
Additionally, the executor has to make sure that the decedent's relatives and other people named in the will have notice of the testator's death, typically through the filing of a copy of the official death certificate.
Executors are also obliged to make available an accounting of the testator's debts and assets, so their affairs can be wound up, along with a list of everyone who is named in the will, or otherwise stands to inherit.
Because the executor serves as the living symbol of the decedent's estate, they are solely responsible for proving the validity of the will. This is a lot of work, but because executors are typically chosen based on how much they stand to inherit from a will once its validity is confirmed, they have a good incentive to see the process to completion.
How Can A Medford, New York Lawyer Help?
Because this process can be fairly intricate, it is not a bad idea to consult with a knowledgeable probate lawyer in Medford, New York, especially if you find yourself as the executor of an estate and don't know how to proceed.