In St. Albans, Vermont "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 St. Albans, Vermont 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.
The executor of the estate is commonly named in the will. If not, the probate court in St. Albans, Vermont will name will appoint a person to serve as executor. This is usually the person who stands to inherit the most under the will.
The executor is the person who has to get the ball rolling on the probate process, and essentially serves as a living embodiment of the decedent's estate. It is their job to defend the estate from debtors (if a legitimate defense for the debt exists, of course), and wind up any legal proceedings that the decedent might have been involved in. If an executor needs to be appointed, a court usually chooses the person who will inherit the most if the will is given effect, since that person will have the most inducement to carry out the duties of the executor.
Duties of the Executor in St. Albans, Vermont
Executors of estates have a several distinct responsibilities. First, the executor must start the probate proceedings. Probate almost always needs to be completed before the property in an estate can be released according to the terms of the will.
They also are required to provide notice to the people with a direct interest in the estate that the decedent has died, usually by filing a death certificate.
The executor will also have to compile and make available 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.
Finally, 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 required for them to inherit, giving them an incentive.
How Can A St. Albans, Vermont Lawyer Help?
Because of the complexities inherent in the probate process, it is a good idea to hire an experienced St. Albans, Vermont probate lawyer, particularly for the executors of estates.