In Berlin, Wisconsin "probate" refers to the process a court uses to decide whether or not a will is valid, thereby deciding if it should be given effect.
During probate, the court in Berlin, Wisconsin will determine the validity of the will, identify 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 Berlin, Wisconsin court will appoint an executor. This is typically the person who stands to gain the most if the will is found to be valid.
The executor is the person who has to get the ball rolling on the probate process, and essentially serves as a living embodiment of the decedent's estate. It is their job to defend the estate from debtors (if a legitimate defense for the debt exists, of course), and wind up any legal proceedings that the decedent might have been engaged in. If an executor needs to be appointed, a court typically chooses the person who will inherit the most if the will is given effect, since that person will have the most incentive to carry out the duties of the executor.
Duties of the Executor in Berlin, Wisconsin
The executor has many duties concerning the will. First, they have to truly initiate the probate proceedings, which must be completed before the will is effectuated.
Additionally, it's the executor's job to notify all interested parties that the person who made the will has died. "Interested parties" are usually people who are named in the will, or who would inherit the estate if the decedent had died without a will.
Because people who stand to inherit from the testator may be scattered around the country, or even the world, contacting them is sometimes difficult. One of the responsibilities of the executor is to collect a list of everyone who is entitled to inherit from the decedent, so attempts to contact them can be made. They additionally have to account for all the testator's debts and assets.
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 assistance. 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 Berlin, Wisconsin Lawyer Help?
Because of the difficulties involved in probate, it would be smart to hire a knowledgeable Berlin, Wisconsin probate lawyer, especially if you are the executor of an estate and unsure how to proceed.