Estate administration is the procedure during which the estate of a person who has recently died is maintained and divided among his or her heirs or beneficiaries. This usually happens according to the instructions in a will, but in case there is no will, there are laws regulating that situation, as well.
If the person who died made and executed a valid will in Charleston County, South Carolina, the process of estate administration usually follows the procedures and instructions laid out in the will.
Most commonly, a will names a person to serve as executor, whose job it is to guarantee that the estate is properly administered.
The executor is usually whoever stands to acquire 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 Charleston County, South Carolina does not name a person to serve as executor, or the decedent dies without having written a will, the court will assign a person to act as estate administrator.
This is most often the person who stands to gain the most from the will, or who would inherit the most under South Carolina's intestacy laws. Intestacy is the system that every state has in order to deal with the property of people who die without a will. It usually distributes the property to the closest living relatives of the decedent, assuming they can be located.
If the will doesn't name anyone as executor, or the individual who was named as executor is no longer living or cannot be found, anyone who has a direct interest in the will in Charleston County, South Carolina can apply to the 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 accountable 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 Charleston County, South Carolina Estate Administration Attorney Help?
If you find yourself named in a will as executor of an estate, and aren't sure how to meet your responsibilities, or where to begin, it would be a good idea to consult with an experienced Charleston County, South Carolina lawyer who can help you navigate this sometimes-difficult process.