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 decedent had the foresight to draft and execute a will in Aberdeen, South Dakota, the estate is typically administered in a way that follows the instructions the will lays out, as closely as possible.
Often, the will appoints an executor whose job it is to oversee the administration of the will.
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 an Aberdeen, South Dakota will does not assign anyone to serve as executor, or there is no will, the court has to choose someone to fill that role.
Usually, this will be the person who has the most to gain from the will, or who would gain the most under South Dakota's intestacy scheme (the system that distributes the decedent's property to his or her closest living relatives, if he or she dies without a will).
In cases where the will doesn't name an executor, or the person named is unable to take on that role for whatever reason, any person who has some direct share in the decedent's estate (either because they're named in the will or stand to inherit by intestacy) can petition an Aberdeen, South Dakota court to be assigned executor.
When the executor is chosen, they serve as a sort of incarnation of the decedent's estate - the estate's legal interests become the executor's interests, and the executor is expected to safeguard the estate's interests as they would their own.
Can a Aberdeen, South Dakota 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 reputable Aberdeen, South Dakota wills and trusts attorney.