In Longview, 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 Longview, Washington 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.
Wills usually name the person who is to serve as executor of the estate. If no executor is named, the Longview, 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 major duty of the executor is to serve as the living incarnation of the estate. Their job is to start probate proceedings, and see them to completion. If an executor has to be appointed by the court, it will usually 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 Longview, 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 done before the will is given effect.
Also, it's the executor's job to notify all concerned parties that the person who made the will has died. "Interested parties" are generally people who are named in the will, or who would inherit the estate if the decedent had died without a will.
Because people who stand to inherit from the testator may be scattered around the country, or even the world, contacting them is sometimes challenging. One of the responsibilities of the executor is to compile a list of everyone who is entitled to inherit from the decedent, so attempts to contact them can be made. They also have to account for all the testator's debts and assets.
Because the executor serves as the living personification 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 Longview, Washington Lawyer Help?
Because this process can be fairly perplexing, it is not a bad idea to consult with a reputable probate lawyer in Longview, Washington, especially if you find yourself as the executor of an estate and don't know how to proceed.