In Westlake, Ohio, probate is a legal procedure that a court must go through before giving effect to a will. Before putting a will into effect, a court has to decide that it is legitimate.
During probate, the court in Westlake, Ohio will decide the validity of the will, determine and inventory the decedent's assets, account for the decedent's debts and back taxes, and distribute the decedent's property, among other things.
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 inadequate to serve in this capacity. In these situations, a Westlake, Ohio probate court has to assign one.
Because the executor is responsible for really initiating probate proceedings and seeing them to finalization, the person chosen for this role is often the one who stands to inherit the most from the will - giving them an incentive to put in the necessary time and effort.
Duties of the Executor in Westlake, Ohio
The executor has many duties with respect to the will. First, it is his or her job to actually initiate probate proceedings, which often must be done before the will is given effect.
Furthermore, it's the executor's job to notify all concerned parties that the person who made the will has died. "Interested parties" are typically people who are named in the will, or who would inherit the estate if the decedent had died without a will.
There may be numerous 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 hard to find, but they need to be found, nonetheless. To that end, the executor is obligated 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. Furthermore, they have to make known all of the decedent's major assets and debts.
Additionally, the executor is obligated to take the lead in showing the validity of the will, effectively acting as the living embodiment of the decedent's estate. The executor is normally the person who will inherit the most once the will goes through probate, so they have a good reason to put in the work to do this.
How Can A Westlake, Ohio Lawyer Help?
Because of the intricacies inherent in the probate process, it is a good idea to hire an accomplished Westlake, Ohio probate lawyer, particularly for the executors of estates.