In Altus, Oklahoma, 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 Altus, Oklahoma 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, an Altus, Oklahoma 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 Altus, Oklahoma
The executor has many duties regarding the will. First, they have to really initiate the probate proceedings, which must be done before the will is effectuated.
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.
Because people who stand to inherit from the testator may be scattered around the country, or even the world, contacting them is sometimes challenging. One of the responsibilities of the executor is to gather a list of everyone who is entitled to inherit from the decedent, so attempts to contact them can be made. They further have to account for all the testator's debts and assets.
Additionally, the executor is obligated to take a leading role in showing 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 Altus, Oklahoma Lawyer Help?
Because this process can be fairly difficult, it is not a bad idea to consult with a seasoned probate lawyer in Altus, Oklahoma, especially if you find yourself as the executor of an estate and don't know how to proceed.