Being the executor of a will in California is both an honor and a huge time commitment. When offering this role to someone, you need to be sure they understand what is involved and what is being asked of them before they accept. While the executor of a will is most often a close family member who can be trusted to carry out their duties in an impartial, honest, and diligent manner, deciding who will oversee your will and how to manage your estate is a monumental decision. The team at Leiva Law Firm is here to help you through the probate and estate planning process.
Roles of a Will Executor
Generally speaking, the executor of a will is in charge of distributing the estate in accordance with the deceased’s Last Will and Testament, as well as paying off any debts that may be owed by the state. More specifically, the executor of a will has a variety of duties that include choosing the type of probate and filing the will accordingly, setting up a bank account for the payment of estate debts and taxes, maintaining any property included in the will, creating and filing an inventory with the probate court, and the distribution of assets In addition to this, they may be required to perform some or all of the following duties:
Obtain a Copy of the Will and File it With Probate Court
The executor determines who inherits any property and assets by reading and understanding the Last Will and Testament. In California, even if probate is not necessary in their specific case, the will must still be filed with the probate court.
Notify the Appropriate Banks, Credit Cards, and Government Agencies of the Death
Any banking institutions at which the deceased held accounts must be notified, as well as any companies with whom they held a credit card or other line of credit. Some examples of government agencies that might need to be notified are the Social Security Administration or the Department of Education (for those of us who will die with our student loans).
Set Up a Bank Account For Any Incoming and Outgoing Monies
Any type of mortgage payments, taxes, owed, utility bills, credit cards bills, etc that still need to be paid should be paid from this account. Likewise, any expected income such as an award settlement or a final paycheck, etc should be deposited into this account. Opening a bank account for estate funds is different than a regular bank account so make sure that you are familiar with what it entails. If you find yourself struggling with this aspect of your executor duties it is best to retain the services of a qualified will and probate attorney.
File an Inventory of Assets With Probate Court
In California, the estate executor is required to file a detailed inventory of assets with the probate court.
Chose a Type of Probate
In the case of some assets, probate is not necessary for the state of California. An example of this would be a piece of property that is held jointly by a husband a wife. You will want to be familiar with the inheritance laws involving your particular list of assets. Figuring this out can be a tedious process best expedited by hiring a will and probate attorney.
Los Angeles Will and Estate Lawyer
The responsibilities of an executor may go far beyond the basic points that have been mentioned here depending on the case. While it is possible to abdicate the role of the estate executor in Los Angeles, most hurdles can be smoothed over by the services of an experienced will and probate lawyer.
Here at Levia Law Firm, we have 25 years of experience in will and probate law. If you have accepted the role as an estate executor or are wondering who you should pick as your estate executor, we can help guide you through the process. Contact us at (818) 703-1777 and ask to speak with one of our licensed will and probate attorneys today.