In New London, 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 New London, Wisconsin probate court has many 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.
Normally, the executor of the estate is named in the will. However, if nobody is named as an executor, the probate court in New London, Wisconsin will appoint an administrator to serve the role as the executor. This is normally the closest adult relative of the decedent, or the person who stands to inherit the most.
Because the executor is responsible for really 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 New London, Wisconsin
The executor has several duties concerning the will. First of all, they have to actually initiate the probate proceedings with the court, and this procedure has to be finished before the will takes effect.
Executors must also notify anyone with an interest in the will of the death of the decedent. Individuals with an interest in the outcome of probate are those who are named in the will, or anyone who would likely inherit if the will is invalidated (close relatives, for the most part).
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 gather a list of everyone who is entitled to inherit from the decedent, so attempts to contact them can be made. They further have to account for all the testator's debts and assets.
Finally, executors have to actually put forth the effort to show 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 New London, Wisconsin Lawyer Help?
Because this process can be fairly convoluted, it is not a bad idea to consult with a brilliant probate lawyer in New London, Wisconsin, especially if you find yourself as the executor of an estate and don't know how to proceed.