In West Chester, 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 determine that it is valid.
In the probate process, a West Chester, Pennsylvania probate court has several duties, including ruling on a will's validity, making an inventory of the estate's assets, and making note of all the decedent's debts. Once the will is determined to be valid, the court will distribute the property according to its terms.
Wills often name a person as the executor of the estate. If not, the court in West Chester, Pennsylvania will name one. This is most often the adult individual who stands to inherit the most money or property from the will.
The executor is the person who initiates probate proceedings. The person who stands to inherit the most from the will is usually appointed the executor, because they will have the most reason to help the process go as quickly as possible, so they can get their inheritance.
Duties of the Executor in West Chester, Pennsylvania
The executor has many duties concerning the will. First, they have to actually initiate the probate proceedings, which must be finished before the will is effectuated.
They also are required to provide notice to the people with a direct interest in the estate that the decedent has died, usually by filing a death certificate.
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 difficult to find, but they need to be found, nonetheless. To that end, the executor is required 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 prove 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 West Chester, Pennsylvania Lawyer Help?
Because of the complexities involved in probate, it would be a good idea to consult with and retain a West Chester, Pennsylvania attorney who specializes in probate, especially if you are the executor of an estate.