In Mount Vernon, 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 Mount Vernon, 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 Mount Vernon, 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 Mount Vernon, Washington
Executors of estates have a several distinct responsibilities. First, the executor must start the probate proceedings. Probate almost always needs to be done before the property in an estate can be released according to the terms of the will.
The executor also has to provide those with a direct interest in the will notice that the decedent has deceased, by filing an official death certificate.
If the decedent was even slightly well-off financially, it's likely that they'll have significant amounts of both debts and assets. The executor is tasked with creating an accurate accounting of the debts and assets of the estate, so as much of the decedent's debts can be paid off as possible.
Lastly, 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 obligated for them to inherit, giving them an incentive.
How Can A Mount Vernon, Washington Lawyer Help?
Because this process can be fairly perplexing, it is not a bad idea to consult with a reputable probate lawyer in Mount Vernon, Washington, especially if you find yourself as the executor of an estate and don't know how to proceed.