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Estate Planning

What to Expect When Qualifying as an Executor of an Estate

By June 20, 2021 No Comments

Administrators and executors of a deceased individual’s estate are personal representatives who are appointed by a court of law to serve in that capacity. Executors have numerous responsibilities that they are often tasked with, and they are responsible for carrying out these duties properly and efficiently. In fact, failing to exercise diligence in carrying out the duties of an estate executor could potentially result in personal liability for the executor.

If you are in the process of qualifying as an executor for the estate of a deceased loved one, it is important that you speak with a California probate lawyer as soon as you can. Your attorney will be able to explain all of your legal duties to you and can help you through every step of the process.

Making Various Types of Payments

As the executor of a deceased individual’s estate, a qualifying individual should be expected to inventory the various assets of the estate, pay the deceased individual’s debts and taxes, communicate with the decedent’s taxing authorities and creditors, and pay for various types of professional services. It is important to keep in mind, however, that an executor should not make any type of distribution or payment to a creditor (or anyone else) without first seeking and obtaining approval from the court.

In order to speed up the process, you might be able to request approval as the estate representative from the court. If the court decides to grant you that permission, you will not need to request approval every time that a distribution or payment needs to be made on behalf of the estate.

Notifying Beneficiaries and Creditors

As part of the California probate process, beneficiaries and creditors obtain what they are eligible to recover from a deceased person’s estate. When you serve as an executor, you must give these individuals an opportunity to become involved in the probate process. Specifically, you will be required to notify all beneficiaries and creditors that the deceased person has passed away. You will also be required to provide these individuals with details about the probate process and how it will work going forward.

Waiting for a Formal Court Appointment to Act as the Estate Executor

In many instances, a person becomes the executor of someone’s estate after being nominated by the now-deceased individual in his or her will. Despite this nomination, however, you should not begin acting as the estate executor until a California court gives you formal permission to do so.

Complying with Various Deadlines

Finally, as the executor of a deceased individual’s estate, you will be required to comply with various deadlines, especially with regard to notice. Failing to comply with these deadlines could result in the estate executor incurring penalties and other consequences. In some instances of extreme delay, a court might even find the estate executor to be personally liable.

An experienced California probate attorney will be able to help you comply with all executor requirements and time deadlines and guide you throughout the entire probate process from beginning to end.