In Stoughton, 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 Stoughton, 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 Stoughton, 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.
The executor is the person who has to get the ball rolling on the probate process, and basically serves as a living representation 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 engaged in. If an executor needs to be appointed, a court typically chooses the person who will inherit the most if the will is given effect, since that person will have the most incitement to carry out the duties of the executor.
Duties of the Executor in Stoughton, Wisconsin
There are quite a few things that an executor is accountable for. At the outset, they are obligated to file the probate action with the appropriate court. No progress, let alone any final disposition of the estate, can be made until this happens.
Executors must also alert anyone with an interest in the will of the death of the decedent. Persons 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).
There may be various 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 challenging to find, but they need to be found, nonetheless. To that end, the executor is obliged 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.
Moreover, the executor is obligated to take the lead in establishing the validity of the will, effectively acting as the living embodiment of the decedent's estate. The executor is typically the person who will inherit the most once the will goes through probate, so they have a good reason to put in the work to do this.
How Can A Stoughton, Wisconsin Lawyer Help?
Because of the difficulties inherent in the probate process, it is a good idea to hire an efficient Stoughton, Wisconsin probate lawyer, particularly for the executors of estates.