Southampton, New York has a legal process known as "probate." This is when a court determines whether or not a will is legitimate, and, accordingly, whether or not to effectuate its provisions.
As part of this procedure, the court in Southampton, New York has various important responsibilities. Most especially, 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 guarantee that the property is distributed in an orderly manner, as close to the terms of the will (assuming it is valid) as possible.
Most wills name a particular person as the executor of the estate, but sometimes they don't, or the named executor is deceased, out of the court's jurisdiction, or otherwise unsuited to serve in this capacity. In these situations, a Southampton, New York probate court has to assign one.
The executor is the individual who initiates probate proceedings. The person who stands to inherit the most from the will is typically appointed the executor, because they will have the most motivation to help the process go as quickly as possible, so they can get their inheritance.
Duties of the Executor in Southampton, New York
The executor has many duties regarding the will. First, they have to truly initiate the probate proceedings, which must be finalized before the will is effectuated.
Furthermore, 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 accessible an accounting of the testator's debts and assets, so their affairs can be wound up, along with a list of everybody who is named in the will, or otherwise stands to inherit.
Moreover, the executor is obliged to take a leading role in establishing the validity of the will. The executor obviously has an incentive to see the process through, since they cannot inherit until probate is complete.
How Can A Southampton, New York Lawyer Help?
Because this can be (though isn't always) a fairly complicated process, it's a good idea to get a reliable probate lawyer in Southampton, New York, especially if you find yourself being the executor of an estate, and aren't sure how to proceed.