The procedure of distributing and maintaining the estate (the total accumulated property) of a person who dies is identified as "estate administration." It is carried out either through the provisions of a will, or local laws addressing the issue of a person who dies without a will.
If the decedent (the person who died) left a will, the process of estate administration in Whatcom County Washington will typically be carried out according to the instructions in the will.
Wills normally name an executor. The executor's role revolves around guaranteeing that the instructions in the will are implemented.
The person named as executor of an estate typically has some work ahead of them. To ensure that they truly follow through on their commitments, most people name as executor the person who will get the most money, or other benefit, if the will is given effect as written. Because an estate can't be distributed until the administration process is complete, the executor has an incentive to see it through.
What if The Will Does Not Name an Executor?
If a Whatcom County, Washington will does not assign anyone to serve as executor, or there is no will, the court has to choose someone to fill that role.
Typically, this will be the person who has the most to acquire from the will, or who would gain the most under Washington's intestacy scheme (the system that distributes the decedent's property to his or her closest living relatives, if he or she dies without a will).
If the will doesn't name anyone as executor, or the individual who was named as executor is no longer living or cannot be found, anyone who has a direct interest in the will in Whatcom County, Washington can apply to the court to be the executor.
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 safeguard the estate's interests as they would their own.
Can a Whatcom County, Washington Estate Administration Attorney Help?
If you are the administrator of an estate, and are not a legal and/or financial professional, you might confront legal or tax issues with which you are unfamiliar. A Whatcom County, Washington attorney would be quite helpful in such a situation.