In Lancaster, Wisconsin "probate" refers to the process a court uses to determine whether or not a will is legitimate, thereby deciding if it should be given effect.
In the probate process, a Lancaster, Wisconsin probate court has various 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 decided to be valid, the court will distribute the property according to its clauses.
Typically, the executor of the estate is named in the will. However, if nobody is named as an executor, the probate court in Lancaster, Wisconsin will assign an administrator to serve the role as the executor. This is typically the closest adult relative of the decedent, or the person who stands to inherit the most.
Because the executor is responsible for truly initiating probate proceedings and seeing them to finalization, 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 Lancaster, Wisconsin
The executor has many duties regarding the will. First, they have to truly initiate the probate proceedings, which must be finalized before the will is effectuated.
Additionally, it's the executor's job to notify all affected 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.
The executor will also have to collect and make accessible a list of all of the decedent's debts and assets, as well as a list of those who stand to inherit from the decedent.
Because the executor serves as the living representation of the decedent's estate, they are solely accountable for proving the validity of the will. This is a lot of work, but because executors are typically chosen based on how much they stand to inherit from a will once its validity is confirmed, they have a good incentive to see the process to finalization.
How Can A Lancaster, Wisconsin Lawyer Help?
Because this can be (though isn't always) a fairly complicated process, it's a good idea to get a reliable probate lawyer in Lancaster, Wisconsin, especially if you find yourself being the executor of an estate, and aren't sure how to proceed.