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 normally 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 decedent had the foresight to draft and execute a will in West Columbia, South Carolina, the estate is usually administered in a way that follows the instructions the will lays out, as closely as possible.
Commonly, the will appoints an executor whose job it is to oversee the administration of the will.
The executor is commonly the person who will get the most money or property out of the will if it is given effect, because this is the person who will have the greatest incentive to see that the probate process goes as rapidly as possible.
What if The Will Does Not Name an Executor?
If the will in West Columbia, South Carolina does not name an executor, or the decedent left no will to be found, the court has to assign a person to serve as the administrator of the estate.
Normally, the person chosen to be executor is the one who would benefit most under the will, or under South Carolina's intestacy laws. "Intestacy" refers to a situation in which a person dies without a will, or "dies intestate." Every state has laws to address this situation, and there isn't a lot of variation from state to state. Normally, the decedent's property will go to his or her closest relative, and if absolutely no living relatives can be found, it will go to the state.
When a will is silent as to who should be the executor, any individual who has some direct interest in the result can ask to be named executor by the West Columbia, South Carolina court.
Once an executor is assigned (whether by being named in the will, or on the application of another person), they "step into the shoes" of the estate, and are expected to safeguard its interests to the fullest extent possible. They further are obligated to accurately inventory the estate's debts and assets, as well as notify possible beneficiaries.
Can a West Columbia, 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 accomplished West Columbia, South Carolina lawyer who can help you navigate this sometimes-confusing process.