In Mountlake Terrace, Washington "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 Mountlake Terrace, Washington 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.
Wills usually name the person who is to serve as executor of the estate. If no executor is named, the Mountlake Terrace, Washington court will appoint an executor. This is usually the person who stands to gain the most if the will is found to be valid.
The main duty of the executor is to serve as the living incarnation of the estate. Their job is to initiate 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 Mountlake Terrace, Washington
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.
The executor also has to give those with a direct interest in the will notice that the decedent has died, by filing an official death certificate.
If the decedent was even moderately 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.
Furthermore, the executor is required to take the lead in proving the validity of the will, effectively acting as the living embodiment of the decedent's estate. The executor is usually the person who will inherit the most once the will goes through probate, so they have a good reason to put in the work to do this.
How Can A Mountlake Terrace, Washington Lawyer Help?
Because of the complexities involved in probate, it would be a good idea to consult with and retain a Mountlake Terrace, Washington attorney who specializes in probate, especially if you are the executor of an estate.