The procedure of distributing and maintaining the estate (the total accumulated property) of a person who dies is recognized as "estate administration." It is carried out either through the provisions of a will, or local laws addressing the issue of a person who dies without a will.
If the decedent (the person who died) left a will, the process of estate administration in Mercer Island Washington will normally be carried out according to the instructions in the will.
Wills usually name an executor. The executor's role revolves around guaranteeing that the instructions in the will are implemented.
The executor typically has at least some work cut out for them. This evidently raises the issue of compensation. The easiest way to guarantee that the executor does his or her job is simply to appoint the person who has the most to gain from the will. That way, they cannot inherit until the process is finalized.
What if The Will Does Not Name an Executor?
If a will in Mercer Island, Washington does not name a person to serve as executor, or the decedent dies without having written a will, the court will assign a person to act as estate administrator.
This is most commonly the person who would inherit most under the will, or under the intestacy scheme of Washington. Intestacy is when a person dies without having made a will, or if a will turns out to be invalid. The intestacy laws of each state govern how property is distributed in such a situation. In most states, it simply goes to the closest living relative.
When a will is silent as to who should be the executor, any individual who has some direct interest in the result can ask to be named executor by the Mercer Island, Washington court.
When the executor is chosen, they serve as a sort of incarnation of the decedent's estate - the estate's legal interests become the executor's interests, and the executor is expected to safeguard the estate's interests as they would their own.
Can a Mercer Island, Washington Estate Administration Attorney Help?
If you are the administrator of an estate, and are not a legal and/or financial professional, you might face legal or tax issues with which you are unfamiliar. A Mercer Island, Washington attorney would be extremely helpful in such a situation.