Estate administration is the process during which the estate of a person who has recently died is maintained and divided among his or her heirs or beneficiaries. This normally happens according to the instructions in a will, but in case there is no will, there are laws governing that situation, as well.
If the person who died made and executed a valid will in West Greenwich, Rhode Island, the process of estate administration normally follows the procedures and instructions laid out in the will.
Most often, a will names a person to serve as executor, whose job it is to ensure that the estate is properly administered.
The executor typically has at least some work cut out for them. This evidently raises the issue of compensation. The easiest way to ensure that the executor does his or her job is simply to appoint the person who has the most to gain from the will. That way, they cannot inherit until the process is completed.
What if The Will Does Not Name an Executor?
If a West Greenwich, Rhode Island will does not name an executor, or no will exists or can be found, it's up to the local court to decide who should be the executor.
This is usually the person who will benefit the most if the will is executed. If there is no will (a situation recognized as "intestacy"), Rhode Island has a system of laws distributing the decedent's property to his or her closest living relative. In such a situation, the closest living relative has the most to gain from an orderly administration of the estate, so they will usually be appointed.
If the will doesn't name a person who is to serve as executor, or the person named is no longer alive or cannot be found, anyone with a direct interest in the will can apply to the West Greenwich, Rhode Island court to be the executor.
Whoever ends up as the executor, it is their responsibility to serve as the personal representative of the estate. They will be responsible for taking account of all of the decedent's assets and debts, as well as notifying beneficiaries who may be estranged from the decedent, among other things.
Can a West Greenwich, Rhode Island Estate Administration Attorney Help?
If you have unexpectedly been appointed to be the executor of a relative's estate, and don't know how to handle this process, you should speak with a brilliant West Greenwich, Rhode Island wills and trusts attorney.