In Rutherford County, 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 decide that it is legitimate.
As part of this procedure, the Rutherford County, Tennessee probate court will decide the validity of the will, inventory the decedent's assets and debts, and then, lastly, distribute the estate according to the will, assuming it is deemed to be valid.
Most wills name a particular person as the executor of the estate, but sometimes they don't, or the named executor is deceased, out of the court's jurisdiction, or otherwise inadequate to serve in this capacity. In these situations, a Rutherford County, Tennessee probate court has to assign one.
The executor is the person who has to get the ball rolling on the probate process, and basically serves as a living personification 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 Rutherford County, Tennessee
The executor has several duties with respect to the will. First, it is his or her job to actually initiate probate proceedings, which often must be done before the will is given effect.
Executors must also inform anyone with an interest in the will of the death of the decedent. People 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).
Because people who stand to inherit from the testator may be scattered around the country, or even the world, contacting them is sometimes challenging. One of the responsibilities of the executor is to compile a list of everyone who is entitled to inherit from the decedent, so attempts to contact them can be made. They also have to account for all the testator's debts and assets.
Furthermore, the executor is required to take a leading role in proving the validity of the will. The executor obviously has an incentive to see the process through, since they cannot inherit until probate is complete.
How Can A Rutherford County, Tennessee Lawyer Help?
Because of the complexities involved in probate, it would be smart to hire a reputable Rutherford County, Tennessee probate lawyer, especially if you are the executor of an estate and unsure how to proceed.