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 normally 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 Smithville, Tennessee, the estate is usually administered in a way that follows the instructions the will lays out, as closely as possible.
The decedent normally 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 person named as executor of an estate normally has some work ahead of them. To ensure that they really 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 will in Smithville, Tennessee does not name a person to serve as executor, or the decedent dies without having written a will, the court will assign a person to act as estate administrator.
Normally, the person chosen to be executor is the one who would benefit most under the will, or under Tennessee's intestacy laws. "Intestacy" refers to a situation in which a person dies without a will, or "dies intestate." Every state has laws to address this situation, and there isn't a lot of variation from state to state. Normally, the decedent's property will go to his or her closest relative, and if absolutely no living relatives can be found, it will go to the state.
If the will doesn't name a person who is to serve as executor, or the individual named is no longer alive or cannot be found, anyone with a direct interest in the will can apply to the Smithville, Tennessee court to be the executor.
Whoever ends up as the executor, it is their responsibility to serve as the personal representative of the estate. They will be accountable for taking account of all of the decedent's assets and debts, as well as notifying beneficiaries who may be estranged from the decedent, among other things.
Can a Smithville, 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 seasoned Smithville, Tennessee wills and trusts attorney.