Lancaster, Ohio has a legal process known as "probate." This is when a court decides whether or not a will is lawful, and, accordingly, whether or not to effectuate its provisions.
As part of this procedure, the court in Lancaster, Ohio 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.
Wills typically name the person who is to serve as executor of the estate. If no executor is named, the Lancaster, Ohio court will appoint an executor. This is typically the person who stands to gain the most if the will is found to be valid.
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 reason to move the process along as quickly as possible, so they can get their inheritance.
Duties of the Executor in Lancaster, Ohio
The executor has various duties with respect to the will. First, it is his or her job to actually initiate probate proceedings, which often must be finished before the will is given effect.
Executors must also alert anyone with an interest in the will of the death of the decedent. Persons with an interest in the outcome of probate are those who are named in the will, or anyone who would likely inherit if the will is invalidated (close relatives, for the most part).
There may be several people who are entitled to take under a testator's will, with which the testator may have fallout out of touch years ago. This can make them challenging to find, but they need to be found, nonetheless. To that end, the executor is obliged to make a list of everyone who might be able to inherit, whether they're named in the will, or closely related to the testator. Additionally, they have to make known all of the decedent's major assets and debts.
Finally, executors have to actually put forth the effort to establish that a will is valid. As the sole legal representative of the estate, this is their job, and is required for them to inherit, giving them an incentive.
How Can A Lancaster, Ohio Lawyer Help?
Because this can be (though isn't always) a fairly confusing process, it's a good idea to get a knowledgeable probate lawyer in Lancaster, Ohio, especially if you find yourself being the executor of an estate, and aren't sure how to proceed.