The process 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 problem of a person who dies without a will.
If the person who died made and executed a valid will in La Crosse, Wisconsin, the process of estate administration typically follows the procedures and instructions laid out in the will.
Frequently, the will appoints an executor whose job it is to oversee the administration of the will.
The executor is typically whoever stands to obtain the most money or property if the will is given effect, since that is the person who likely has the most incentive to do their part in seeing that the probate process plays out to completion.
What if The Will Does Not Name an Executor?
If a will in La Crosse, Wisconsin is silent as to who should be the executor, it is up to the court to decide who should serve in that capacity.
Typically, this will be the person who has the most to acquire from the will, or who would gain the most under Wisconsin'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).
In cases where the will doesn't name an executor, or the person named is unable to take on that role for whatever reason, any person who has some direct stake in the decedent's estate (either because they're named in the will or stand to inherit by intestacy) can petition a La Crosse, Wisconsin court to be appointed executor.
Once an executor is appointed (whether by being named in the will, or on the application of another person), they "step into the shoes" of the estate, and are expected to protect its interests to the fullest extent possible. They also are required to accurately inventory the estate's debts and assets, as well as notify potential beneficiaries.
Can a La Crosse, Wisconsin 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 La Crosse, Wisconsin attorney would be quite helpful in such a situation.