In Columbia, Pennsylvania, 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 Columbia, Pennsylvania 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.
Wills commonly name a person as the executor of the estate. If not, the court in Columbia, Pennsylvania will name one. This is most often the adult individual who stands to inherit the most funds or property from the will.
The major duty of the executor is to serve as the living incarnation of the estate. Their job is to start probate proceedings, and see them to completion. If an executor has to be appointed by the court, it will normally be the person who stands to inherit the most from the will, as he or she has an incentive to make every effort to avoid delay.
Duties of the Executor in Columbia, Pennsylvania
There are quite a few things that an executor is accountable for. At the outset, they are obligated to file the probate action with the appropriate court. No progress, let alone any final disposition of the estate, can be made until this happens.
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.
The executor will also have to gather and make accessible a list of all of the decedent's debts and assets, as well as a list of those who stand to inherit from the decedent.
Because the executor serves as the living personification of the decedent's estate, they are solely accountable for proving the validity of the will. This is a lot of work, but because executors are normally chosen based on how much they stand to inherit from a will once its validity is confirmed, they have a good incentive to see the process to finalization.
How Can A Columbia, Pennsylvania Lawyer Help?
Because this can be (though isn't always) a fairly intricate process, it's a good idea to get a seasoned probate lawyer in Columbia, Pennsylvania, especially if you find yourself being the executor of an estate, and aren't sure how to proceed.