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 typically 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 Oak Ridge, Tennessee, the estate is normally administered in a way that follows the instructions the will lays out, as closely as possible.
The decedent typically names in the will an executor of his or her estate. The executor is the person whose job it is to take the lead role in the administration of an estate.
The executor is typically 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 the will in Oak Ridge, Tennessee does not name an executor, or the decedent left no will to be found, the court has to appoint a person to serve as the administrator of the estate.
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"), Tennessee has a system of laws distributing the decedent's property to his or her closest living relative. In such a situation, the closest living relative has the most to gain from an orderly administration of the estate, so they will normally be appointed.
If no executor is named in the will, anyone with a stake in the will can apply to the court in Oak Ridge, Tennessee to be the executor of the estate, if they wish.
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 Oak Ridge, Tennessee 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 knowledgeable Oak Ridge, Tennessee wills and trusts attorney.