In Alcoa, Tennessee, 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 Alcoa, Tennessee 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.
Normally, the executor of the estate is named in the will. However, if nobody is named as an executor, the probate court in Alcoa, Tennessee will appoint an administrator to serve the role as the executor. This is normally 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 immersed in. If an executor needs to be appointed, a court normally chooses the person who will inherit the most if the will is given effect, since that person will have the most incentive to carry out the duties of the executor.
Duties of the Executor in Alcoa, Tennessee
There are quite a few things that an executor is responsible for. At the outset, they are required to file the probate action with the appropriate court. No progress, let alone any final disposition of the estate, can be made until this happens.
Executors must also notify anyone with an interest in the will of the death of the decedent. Individuals with an interest in the outcome of probate are those who are named in the will, or anyone who would likely inherit if the will is invalidated (close relatives, for the most part).
The executor will also have to gather and make available a list of all of the decedent's debts and assets, as well as a list of those who stand to inherit from the decedent.
Finally, executors have to actually put forth the effort to show that a will is valid. As the sole legal representative of the estate, this is their job, and is required for them to inherit, giving them an incentive.
How Can A Alcoa, Tennessee Lawyer Help?
Because this can be (though isn't always) a fairly difficult process, it's a good idea to get a brilliant probate lawyer in Alcoa, Tennessee, especially if you find yourself being the executor of an estate, and aren't sure how to proceed.