In Morgantown, West Virginia "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 Morgantown, West Virginia 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.
The executor of the estate is often named in the will. If not, the probate court in Morgantown, West Virginia will name will appoint a person to serve as executor. This is normally the person who stands to inherit the most under the will.
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 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 motivation to carry out the duties of the executor.
Duties of the Executor in Morgantown, West Virginia
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.
Furthermore, it's the executor's job to notify all affected parties that the person who made the will has died. "Interested parties" are typically people who are named in the will, or who would inherit the estate if the decedent had died without a will.
The executor will also have to gather and make accessible a list of all of the decedent's debts and assets, as well as a list of those who stand to inherit from the decedent.
Additionally, the executor is obligated to take the lead in showing the validity of the will, effectively acting as the living embodiment of the decedent's estate. The executor is normally 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 Morgantown, West Virginia Lawyer Help?
Because of the intricacies involved in probate, it would be smart to hire a seasoned Morgantown, West Virginia probate lawyer, especially if you are the executor of an estate and unsure how to proceed.