The process of distributing and maintaining the estate (the total accumulated property) of a person who dies is identified 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 Grafton, West Virginia, the process of estate administration typically follows the procedures and instructions laid out in the will.
Typically, 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 typically 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 Grafton, West Virginia 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 normally the person who will benefit the most if the will is executed. If there is no will (a situation identified as "intestacy"), West Virginia 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 normally be appointed.
If no executor is named in the will, anyone with a stake in the will can apply to the court in Grafton, West Virginia 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 Grafton, West Virginia 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 knowledgeable Grafton, West Virginia attorney, the process almost always goes pretty smoothly.