The process 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 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 Pierce County Washington will normally be carried out according to the instructions in the will.
Wills usually name an executor. The executor's role revolves around ensuring 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 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 completed.
What if The Will Does Not Name an Executor?
If a Pierce County, 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.
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.
If no executor is named in the will, anyone with a stake in the will can apply to the court in Pierce County, Washington to be the executor of the estate, if they wish.
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 protect the estate's interests as they would their own.
Can a Pierce County, Washington Estate Administration Attorney Help?
Some people are surprised when they find out they've been named the executor of a relative's estate. The responsibilities can seem daunting, but with the help of a brilliant Pierce County, Washington attorney, the process almost always goes pretty smoothly.