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 typically 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 Yankton, South Dakota, the estate is normally administered in a way that follows the instructions the will lays out, as closely as possible.
Frequently, the will appoints an executor whose job it is to oversee the administration of the will.
The person named as executor of an estate typically has some work ahead of them. To ensure that they truly follow through on their commitments, 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 Yankton, South Dakota will does not name an executor, or no will exists or can be found, it's up to the local court to determine who should be the executor.
This is normally the person who will benefit the most if the will is executed. If there is no will (a situation identified as "intestacy"), South Dakota has a system of laws distributing the decedent's property to his or her closest living relative. In such a case, the closest living relative has the most to gain from an orderly administration of the estate, so they will normally be appointed.
If the will doesn't name anyone as executor, or the individual who was named as executor is no longer living or cannot be found, anyone who has a direct interest in the will in Yankton, South Dakota can apply to the court to be the 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 Yankton, 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 efficient Yankton, South Dakota lawyer who can help you navigate this sometimes-confusing process.