The procedure 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 issue of a person who dies without a will.
If the person who died made and executed a valid will in New Martinsville, West Virginia, the process of estate administration normally follows the procedures and instructions laid out in the will.
Normally, wills assign 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 person named as executor of an estate normally has some work ahead of them. To ensure that they really follow through on their commitments, most people name as executor the person who will get the most money, or other benefit, if the will is given effect as written. Because an estate can't be distributed until the administration process is complete, the executor has an incentive to see it through.
What if The Will Does Not Name an Executor?
If a New Martinsville, West Virginia will does not name an executor, or no will exists or can be found, it's up to the local court to determine who should be the executor.
This is most commonly the person who stands to gain the most from the will, or who would inherit the most under West Virginia's intestacy laws. Intestacy is the system that every state has in order to deal with the property of people who die without a will. It normally distributes the property to the closest living relatives of the decedent, assuming they can be located.
When a will is silent as to who should be the executor, any individual who has some direct interest in the result can ask to be named executor by the New Martinsville, West Virginia court.
Whoever ends up as the executor, it is their responsibility to serve as the personal representative of the estate. They will be accountable for taking account of all of the decedent's assets and debts, as well as notifying beneficiaries who may be estranged from the decedent, among other things.
Can a New Martinsville, West Virginia Estate Administration Attorney Help?
If you have unexpectedly been appointed to be the executor of a relative's estate, and don't know how to handle this process, you should speak with a seasoned New Martinsville, West Virginia wills and trusts attorney.