Probate law is presenting a will in court so the document can be validated and administered. It is the legal court process for paying a person's debts and expenses and distributing a person's property after that person's death. In a probate matter, the person who has died is called the "decedent," and his or her property is called the "estate." Usually, a decedent's debts are paid from the estate and any property remaining is divided among heirs or beneficiaries, according to a Will or according to state law. In order for the wishes of a loved one to be carried out the document must go through this process.
What is an executor or administrator?
This is a personal representative, named in your will, who oversees payment of your debt and distribution of your assets according to your will after you have passed away. This individual is considered a fiduciary - meaning they must observe the highest standard of care when dealing with your estate.
Can my personal representative handle my affairs if I become too sick to do myself?
No. A will takes effect only after your death. If you want someone to handle your affairs if you become disabled or incompetent, there are a number of options, including a health care directive and/or a power of attorney.
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