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 Whitewater, Wisconsin, the process of estate administration usually follows the procedures and instructions laid out in the will.
Usually, 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 usually 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 Whitewater, 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 typically the person who will benefit the most if the will is executed. If there is no will (a situation known 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 typically be appointed.
If the will doesn't name a person who is to serve as executor, or the person named is no longer alive or cannot be found, anyone with a direct interest in the will can apply to the Whitewater, Wisconsin court to be the 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 Whitewater, Wisconsin Estate Administration Attorney Help?
If you are the administrator of an estate, and are not a legal and/or financial professional, you might encounter legal or tax issues with which you are unfamiliar. A Whitewater, Wisconsin attorney would be very helpful in such a situation.