The process of distributing and maintaining the estate (the total accumulated property) of a person who dies is identified as "estate administration." It is carried out either through the provisions of a will, or local laws addressing the problem of a person who dies without a will.
If the decedent (the person who died) left a will, the process of estate administration in Charlottesville Virginia will typically be carried out according to the instructions in the will.
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 usually has at least some work cut out for them. This apparently raises the issue of compensation. The easiest way to ensure that the executor does his or her job is simply to appoint the person who has the most to gain from the will. That way, they cannot inherit until the process is finished.
What if The Will Does Not Name an Executor?
If the will in Charlottesville, Virginia 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"), Virginia 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 Charlottesville, Virginia to be the executor of the estate, if they wish.
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 protect the estate's interests as they would their own.
Can a Charlottesville, Virginia 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 Charlottesville, Virginia lawyer who can help you navigate this sometimes-complicated process.