The procedure 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 issue of a person who dies without a will.
If the person who died made and executed a valid will in St. Albans, West Virginia, the process of estate administration usually follows the procedures and instructions laid out in the will.
Wills typically name an executor. The executor's role revolves around guaranteeing that the instructions in the will are implemented.
The executor is usually the person who stands to inherit the most money or property from the will, since this individualn will have the greatest incentive to see the probate and administration process to completion.
What if The Will Does Not Name an Executor?
If the will in St. Albans, West Virginia does not name an executor, or the decedent left no will to be found, the court has to assign a person to serve as the administrator of the estate.
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"), West Virginia has a system of laws distributing the decedent's property to his or her closest living relative. In such a case, the closest living relative has the most to gain from an orderly administration of the estate, so they will typically be appointed.
In cases where the will doesn't name an executor, or the person named is unable to take on that role for whatever reason, any person who has some direct share in the decedent's estate (either because they're named in the will or stand to inherit by intestacy) can petition a St. Albans, West Virginia court to be assigned executor.
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 safeguard the estate's interests as they would their own.
Can a St. Albans, 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 reputable St. Albans, West Virginia wills and trusts attorney.