In Fort Gibson, 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 Fort Gibson, Oklahoma will decide the validity of the will, establish 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 unsuited to serve in this capacity. In these situations, a Fort Gibson, Oklahoma probate court has to assign one.
The executor is the person who has to get the ball rolling on the probate process, and basically serves as a living representation of the decedent's estate. It is their job to defend the estate from debtors (if a legitimate defense for the debt exists, of course), and wind up any legal proceedings that the decedent might have been involved in. If an executor needs to be appointed, a court usually chooses the person who will inherit the most if the will is given effect, since that person will have the most incentive to carry out the duties of the executor.
Duties of the Executor in Fort Gibson, Oklahoma
The executor has many duties regarding the will. First, they have to actually initiate the probate proceedings, which must be finalized before the will is effectuated.
The executor also has to provide those with a direct interest in the will notice that the decedent has deceased, by filing an official death certificate.
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 compile a list of everyone who is entitled to inherit from the decedent, so attempts to contact them can be made. They also have to account for all the testator's debts and assets.
Lastly, executors have to actually put forth the effort to prove that a will is valid. As the sole legal representative of the estate, this is their job, and is obligated for them to inherit, giving them an incentive.
How Can A Fort Gibson, Oklahoma Lawyer Help?
Because of the complexities inherent in the probate process, it is a good idea to hire an experienced Fort Gibson, Oklahoma probate lawyer, particularly for the executors of estates.