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 Rapid City, 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 person named as executor of an estate usually has some work ahead of them. To ensure that they actually follow through on their obligations, most people name as executor the person who will get the most money, or other benefit, if the will is given effect as written. Because an estate can't be distributed until the administration process is complete, the executor has an incentive to see it through.
What if The Will Does Not Name an Executor?
If a will in Rapid City, South Dakota is silent as to who should be the executor, it is up to the court to decide who should serve in that capacity.
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).
When a will is silent as to who should be the executor, any person who has some direct interest in the outcome can ask to be named executor by the Rapid City, South Dakota court.
Once an executor is appointed (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 protect its interests to the fullest extent possible. They also are required to accurately inventory the estate's debts and assets, as well as notify potential beneficiaries.
Can a Rapid City, South Dakota 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 Rapid City, South Dakota lawyer who can help you navigate this sometimes-difficult process.