In Rapid City, South Dakota, probate is a legal procedure that a court must go through before giving effect to a will. Before putting a will into effect, a court has to determine that it is valid.
As part of this process, the Rapid City, South Dakota probate court will determine the validity of the will, inventory the decedent's assets and debts, and then, finally, distribute the estate according to the will, assuming it is found to be valid.
Usually, the executor of the estate is named in the will. However, if nobody is named as an executor, the probate court in Rapid City, South Dakota will appoint an administrator to serve the role as the executor. This is usually the closest adult relative of the decedent, or the person who stands to inherit the most.
The executor is the person who has to get the ball rolling on the probate process, and essentially serves as a living embodiment of the decedent's estate. It is their job to defend the estate from debtors (if a legitimate defense for the debt exists, of course), and wind up any legal proceedings that the decedent might have been involved in. If an executor needs to be appointed, a court usually chooses the person who will inherit the most if the will is given effect, since that person will have the most motivation to carry out the duties of the executor.
Duties of the Executor in Rapid City, South Dakota
The executor has many duties concerning the will. First, they have to actually initiate the probate proceedings, which must be completed before the will is effectuated.
The executor also has to give those with a direct interest in the will notice that the decedent has died, by filing an official death certificate.
Executors are also required to make available an accounting of the testator's debts and assets, so their affairs can be wound up, along with a list of everyone who is named in the will, or otherwise stands to inherit.
As the representative of the estate, the executor has to take charge of the probate process, filing the necessary court papers, and, if necessary, hiring an attorney for assistance. If the estate is large, and the executor stands to inherit a great deal of money once this process is complete, they'll probably find it to be worth the time and expense.
How Can A Rapid City, South Dakota Lawyer Help?
Because this can be (though isn't always) a fairly complex process, it's a good idea to get a good probate lawyer in Rapid City, South Dakota, especially if you find yourself being the executor of an estate, and aren't sure how to proceed.