The process of distributing and maintaining the estate (the total accumulated property) of a person who dies is recognized 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 West Bend, Wisconsin, the process of estate administration normally follows the procedures and instructions laid out in the will.
Normally, wills appoint an executor who is responsible for overseeing the administration of the estate, and seeing that its provisions are carried out, to the extent possible.
The executor is normally the person who stands to inherit the most money or property from the will, since this personn will have the greatest incentive to see the probate and administration process to completion.
What if The Will Does Not Name an Executor?
If a West Bend, Wisconsin will does not name an executor, or no will exists or can be found, it's up to the local court to decide who should be the executor.
This is usually the person who will benefit the most if the will is executed. If there is no will (a situation recognized as "intestacy"), Wisconsin has a system of laws distributing the decedent's property to his or her closest living relative. In such a situation, the closest living relative has the most to gain from an orderly administration of the estate, so they will usually be appointed.
If no executor is named in the will, anyone with a stake in the will can apply to the court in West Bend, Wisconsin to be the executor of the estate, if they wish.
When the executor is chosen, they serve as a sort of incarnation of the decedent's estate - the estate's legal interests become the executor's interests, and the executor is expected to protect the estate's interests as they would their own.
Can a West Bend, Wisconsin Estate Administration Attorney Help?
If you find yourself named in a will as executor of an estate, and aren't sure how to meet your responsibilities, or where to begin, it would be a good idea to consult with an accomplished West Bend, Wisconsin lawyer who can help you navigate this sometimes-perplexing process.