In Colonial Heights, Virginia "probate" refers to the process a court uses to decide whether or not a will is valid, thereby deciding if it should be given effect.
During probate, the court in Colonial Heights, Virginia will determine the validity of the will, identify and inventory the decedent's assets, account for the decedent's debts and back taxes, and distribute the decedent's property, among other things.
Most wills name a specific person as the executor of the estate, but sometimes they don't, or the named executor is dead, out of the court's jurisdiction, or otherwise unfit to serve in this capacity. In these cases, a Colonial Heights, Virginia probate court has to appoint one.
The main duty of the executor is to serve as the living incarnation of the estate. Their job is to initiate probate proceedings, and see them to completion. If an executor has to be appointed by the court, it will typically be the person who stands to inherit the most from the will, as he or she has an incentive to make every effort to avoid delay.
Duties of the Executor in Colonial Heights, Virginia
The executor has many duties concerning the will. First of all, they have to actually initiate the probate proceedings with the court, and this procedure has to be completed before the will takes effect.
They additionally are required to provide notice to the people with a direct interest in the estate that the decedent has died, typically by filing a death certificate.
If the decedent was even moderately well-off financially, it's likely that they'll have substantial amounts of both debts and assets. The executor is tasked with drafting an accurate accounting of the debts and assets of the estate, so as much of the decedent's debts can be paid off as possible.
Moreover, the executor is obliged to take a leading role in establishing 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 Colonial Heights, Virginia Lawyer Help?
Because of the difficulties involved in probate, it would be smart to hire a knowledgeable Colonial Heights, Virginia probate lawyer, especially if you are the executor of an estate and unsure how to proceed.