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 Woodinville 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 person named as executor of an estate usually has some work ahead of them. To ensure that they actually follow through on their obligations, 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 Woodinville, 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 often the person who stands to gain the most from the will, or who would inherit the most under Washington's intestacy laws. Intestacy is the system that every state has in order to deal with the property of people who die without a will. It usually distributes the property to the closest living relatives of the decedent, assuming they can be located.
If no executor is named in the will, anyone with a stake in the will can apply to the court in Woodinville, Washington to be the executor of the estate, if they wish.
Whoever is appointed to serve as executor, it is their job to act as the representative of the estate. Among other jobs, they have to account for the decedent's debts and assets, and inform any beneficiaries who might be unaware of the situation.
Can a Woodinville, Washington Estate Administration Attorney Help?
If you have unexpectedly been appointed to be the executor of a relative's estate, and don't know how to handle this process, you should speak with a good Woodinville, Washington wills and trusts attorney.