In Jefferson, 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.
In the probate process, a Jefferson, Wisconsin probate court has several duties, including ruling on a will's validity, making an inventory of the estate's assets, and making note of all the decedent's debts. Once the will is determined to be valid, the court will distribute the property according to its terms.
Usually, the executor of the estate is named in the will. However, if nobody is named as an executor, the probate court in Jefferson, Wisconsin will appoint an administrator to serve the role as the executor. This is usually the closest adult relative of the decedent, or the person who stands to inherit the most.
Because the executor is responsible for actually initiating probate proceedings and seeing them to completion, the person chosen for this role is often the one who stands to inherit the most from the will - giving them an incentive to put in the necessary time and effort.
Duties of the Executor in Jefferson, Wisconsin
Executors of estates have a several distinct responsibilities. First, the executor must start the probate proceedings. Probate almost always needs to be completed before the property in an estate can be released according to the terms of the will.
Additionally, the executor has to make sure that the decedent's relatives and other people named in the will have notice of the testator's death, usually through the filing of a copy of the official death certificate.
If the decedent was even moderately well-off financially, it's likely that they'll have significant amounts of both debts and assets. The executor is tasked with creating an accurate accounting of the debts and assets of the estate, so as much of the decedent's debts can be paid off as possible.
Finally, executors have to actually put forth the effort to prove that a will is valid. As the sole legal representative of the estate, this is their job, and is required for them to inherit, giving them an incentive.
How Can A Jefferson, Wisconsin Lawyer Help?
Because this can be (though isn't always) a fairly complex process, it's a good idea to get a good probate lawyer in Jefferson, Wisconsin, especially if you find yourself being the executor of an estate, and aren't sure how to proceed.