The process of distributing and maintaining the estate (the total accumulated property) of a person who dies is known 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 New Richmond, Wisconsin, the process of estate administration usually follows the procedures and instructions laid out in the will.
Often, the will appoints an executor whose job it is to oversee the administration of the will.
The executor is usually 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 the will in New Richmond, Wisconsin does not name an executor, or the decedent left no will to be found, the court has to appoint a person to serve as the administrator of the estate.
This is most often the person who stands to gain the most from the will, or who would inherit the most under Wisconsin's intestacy laws. Intestacy is the system that every state has in order to deal with the property of people who die without a will. It usually distributes the property to the closest living relatives of the decedent, assuming they can be located.
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 New Richmond, 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 New Richmond, Wisconsin Estate Administration Attorney Help?
Some people are surprised when they find out they've been named the executor of a relative's estate. The responsibilities can seem daunting, but with the help of a good New Richmond, Wisconsin attorney, the process almost always goes pretty smoothly.