In Centralia, Washington "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 Centralia, Washington will decide the validity of the will, establish and inventory the decedent's assets, account for the decedent's debts and back taxes, and distribute the decedent's property, among other things.
Wills usually name the person who is to serve as executor of the estate. If no executor is named, the Centralia, Washington court will appoint an executor. This is usually the person who stands to gain the most if the will is found to be legitimate.
The executor is the person accountable for initiating the probate proceedings. The person who would inherit the most from the will is appointed, because they have the greatest inducement to move the process along as quickly as possible, so they can get their inheritance.
Duties of the Executor in Centralia, Washington
The executor has several duties with respect to the will. First, it is his or her job to actually initiate probate proceedings, which often must be finalized before the will is given effect.
They also are obligated to provide notice to the people with a direct interest in the estate that the decedent has died, usually by filing a death certificate.
There may be various 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 difficult to find, but they need to be found, nonetheless. To that end, the executor is required 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. Furthermore, they have to make known all of the decedent's major assets and debts.
Because the executor serves as the living representation of the decedent's estate, they are solely accountable for proving the validity of the will. This is a lot of work, but because executors are usually 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 finalization.
How Can A Centralia, Washington Lawyer Help?
Because this can be (though isn't always) a fairly perplexing process, it's a good idea to get a reputable probate lawyer in Centralia, Washington, especially if you find yourself being the executor of an estate, and aren't sure how to proceed.