In Ridgefield, 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 Ridgefield, 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 typically name the person who is to serve as executor of the estate. If no executor is named, the Ridgefield, Washington court will appoint an executor. This is typically 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 typically 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 Ridgefield, Washington
The executor has numerous duties concerning the will. First of all, they have to actually initiate the probate hearings with the court, and this procedure has to be done before the will takes effect.
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.
Executors are also obliged to make accessible an accounting of the testator's debts and assets, so their affairs can be wound up, along with a list of everybody who is named in the will, or otherwise stands to inherit.
As the representative of the estate, the executor has to take charge of the probate process, filing the proper court papers, and, if necessary, hiring an attorney for advice. If the estate is large, and the executor stands to inherit a great deal of money once this process is done, they'll probably find it to be worth the time and expense.
How Can A Ridgefield, Washington Lawyer Help?
Because this can be (though isn't always) a fairly complicated process, it's a good idea to get a reliable probate lawyer in Ridgefield, Washington, especially if you find yourself being the executor of an estate, and aren't sure how to proceed.