In Port Washington, 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 Port Washington, 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 decided to be valid, the court will distribute the property according to its clauses.
Normally, the executor of the estate is named in the will. However, if nobody is named as an executor, the probate court in Port Washington, Wisconsin will assign 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.
The executor is the person who has to get the ball rolling on the probate process, and basically serves as a living personification of the decedent's estate. It is their job to defend the estate from debtors (if a legitimate defense for the debt exists, of course), and wind up any legal proceedings that the decedent might have been immersed in. If an executor needs to be appointed, a court normally chooses the person who will inherit the most if the will is given effect, since that person will have the most inducement to carry out the duties of the executor.
Duties of the Executor in Port Washington, Wisconsin
The executor has many duties regarding the will. First, they have to really initiate the probate proceedings, which must be done before the will is effectuated.
The executor also has to provide those with a direct interest in the will notice that the decedent has deceased, by filing an official death certificate.
There may be numerous people who are entitled to take under a testator's will, with which the testator may have fallout out of touch years ago. This can make them hard to find, but they need to be found, nonetheless. To that end, the executor is obligated to make a list of everyone who might be able to inherit, whether they're named in the will, or closely related to the testator. Furthermore, they have to make known all of the decedent's major assets and debts.
Lastly, 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 obligated for them to inherit, giving them an incentive.
How Can A Port Washington, Wisconsin Lawyer Help?
Because this can be (though isn't always) a fairly intricate process, it's a good idea to get a seasoned probate lawyer in Port Washington, Wisconsin, especially if you find yourself being the executor of an estate, and aren't sure how to proceed.