The process of distributing and maintaining the estate (the total accumulated property) of a person who dies is known as "estate administration." It is carried out either through the provisions of a will, or local laws addressing the problem of a person who dies without a will.
If the decedent (the person who died) left a will, the process of estate administration in Ocean Shores Washington will usually be carried out according to the instructions in the will.
Wills typically name an executor. The executor's role revolves around ensuring that the instructions in the will are implemented.
The executor generally has at least some work cut out for them. This obviously raises the issue of compensation. The easiest way to ensure 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 finished.
What if The Will Does Not Name an Executor?
If an Ocean Shores, Washington will does not appoint anyone to serve as executor, or there is no will, the court has to choose someone to fill that role.
Usually, the person chosen to be executor is the one who would benefit most under the will, or under Washington's intestacy laws. "Intestacy" refers to a situation in which a person dies without a will, or "dies intestate." Every state has laws to address this situation, and there isn't a lot of variation from state to state. Usually, the decedent's property will go to his or her closest relative, and if absolutely no living relatives can be found, it will go to the state.
If no executor is named in the will, anyone with a stake in the will can apply to the court in Ocean Shores, Washington to be the executor of the estate, if they wish.
Once an executor is finally named, he or she becomes responsible for serving as the living embodiment of the estate, using all legal means to protect the estate's interests (such as mounting plausible legal defenses against creditors).
Can a Ocean Shores, Washington Estate Administration Attorney Help?
If you find yourself named in a will as executor of an estate, and aren't sure how to meet your responsibilities, or where to begin, it would be a good idea to consult with an experienced Ocean Shores, Washington lawyer who can help you navigate this sometimes-complicated process.