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 Beaufort, South Carolina, 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 is normally whoever stands to obtain the most money or property if the will is given effect, since that is the person who likely has the most incentive to do their part in seeing that the probate process plays out to completion.
What if The Will Does Not Name an Executor?
If a will in Beaufort, South Carolina does not name a person to serve as executor, or the decedent dies without having written a will, the court will appoint a person to act as estate administrator.
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"), South Carolina 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 Beaufort, South Carolina 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 Beaufort, South Carolina Estate Administration Attorney Help?
Some people are surprised when they find out they've been named the executor of a relative's estate. The responsibilities can seem daunting, but with the help of a brilliant Beaufort, South Carolina attorney, the process almost always goes pretty smoothly.