In Roanoke, 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 Roanoke, Virginia will determine the validity of the will, distinguish and inventory the decedent's assets, account for the decedent's debts and back taxes, and distribute the decedent's property, among other things.
The executor of the estate is often named in the will. If not, the probate court in Roanoke, Virginia will name will appoint a person to serve as executor. This is normally the person who stands to inherit the most under the will.
The executor is the person responsible for initiating the probate proceedings. The person who would inherit the most from the will is appointed, because they have the greatest incentive to move the process along as quickly as possible, so they can get their inheritance.
Duties of the Executor in Roanoke, Virginia
There are quite a few things that an executor is responsible for. At the outset, they are required to file the probate action with the appropriate court. No progress, let alone any final disposition of the estate, can be made until this happens.
The executor also has to give those with a direct interest in the will notice that the decedent has died, by filing an official death certificate.
There may be several people who are entitled to take under a testator's will, with which the testator may have fallout out of touch years ago. This can make them hard to find, but they need to be found, nonetheless. To that end, the executor is obligated to make a list of everyone who might be able to inherit, whether they're named in the will, or closely related to the testator. Additionally, they have to make known all of the decedent's major assets and debts.
Because the executor serves as the living symbol of the decedent's estate, they are solely responsible for proving the validity of the will. This is a lot of work, but because executors are normally chosen based on how much they stand to inherit from a will once its validity is confirmed, they have a good incentive to see the process to completion.
How Can A Roanoke, Virginia Lawyer Help?
Because this can be (though isn't always) a fairly difficult process, it's a good idea to get a brilliant probate lawyer in Roanoke, Virginia, especially if you find yourself being the executor of an estate, and aren't sure how to proceed.