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 usually 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 decedent had the foresight to draft and execute a will in Canton, 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 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 Canton, South Dakota will does not appoint anyone to serve as executor, or there is no will, the court has to choose someone to fill that role.
This is most often the person who would inherit most under the will, or under the intestacy scheme of South Dakota. Intestacy is when a person dies without having made a will, or if a will turns out to be invalid. The intestacy laws of each state determine how property is distributed in such a situation. In most states, it simply goes to the closest living relative.
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 Canton, South Dakota court to be the executor.
Whoever is appointed to serve as executor, it is their job to act as the representative of the estate. Among other jobs, they have to account for the decedent's debts and assets, and inform any beneficiaries who might be unaware of the situation.
Can a Canton, 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 good Canton, South Dakota wills and trusts attorney.