In Hopewell, Virginia "probate" refers to the process a court uses to determine whether or not a will is legitimate, thereby deciding if it should be given effect.
During probate, the court in Hopewell, Virginia will decide the validity of the will, determine 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 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 Hopewell, Virginia probate court has to assign one.
Because the executor is responsible for actually initiating probate proceedings and seeing them to finalization, the person chosen for this role is often the one who stands to inherit the most from the will - giving them an incentive to put in the necessary time and effort.
Duties of the Executor in Hopewell, Virginia
The executor has numerous duties concerning the will. First of all, they have to actually initiate the probate hearings with the court, and this procedure has to be done before the will takes 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).
The executor will also have to compile and make accessible a list of all of the decedent's debts and assets, as well as a list of those who stand to inherit from the decedent.
Lastly, executors have to actually put forth the effort to prove that a will is valid. As the sole legal representative of the estate, this is their job, and is obligated for them to inherit, giving them an incentive.
How Can A Hopewell, Virginia Lawyer Help?
Because this process can be fairly perplexing, it is not a bad idea to consult with a reputable probate lawyer in Hopewell, Virginia, especially if you find yourself as the executor of an estate and don't know how to proceed.