Posted in: Blog, Posted On: 07-07-2014, Posted By: Steven Schroeder

A friend or family member has recently passed away and has appointed you as the executor of their will.  So what know? 

The executor of a will is tasked with the responsibility of carrying out the decedents wishes as expressed in their will.  This entails enormous responsibilities.  Essentially a California executor, if the decedents probate assets exceed $150,000, will be required to file a Petition for Probate of Wills and Letters Testamentary.  Once filed, the Court will have a hearing to confirm the appointment of the executor.

After your appointment as executor you will need to do various tasks including:

1.              Gathering Assets

The executor is tasked with locating the decedent’s assets and keeping them safe until they can be distributed to the heirs named in the will.  This can be complicated and time consuming depending on the nature of the assets.

2.              Contacting Heirs

The executor will need to contact all the persons named in the will.  Additionally, some persons not specifically named in the will may need to be contacted, such as former spouses, immediate family members not named in the will, etc.

3.              Paying off Debts

Before the executor can distribute assets to the beneficiaries he will need to make a diligent search of the decedent’s home to inquire as to who may be owed monies.  Moreover, the executor will need to arrange for publication of the decedent’s death in a local newspaper.

4.              Distribute Assets

Once all the assets have been gathered, notification given to all persons required by the court, debts paid off, the executor will need to ask the court for permission to distribute the assets.  This is usually done by filing a Petition with the court.  If approved the executor can distribute assets, ask the court for permission to close the estate, and be relieved of their duties as executor.

Since there are many nuances associated with probate in California it is highly recommended that a person seek the assistance of an attorney when acting as executor under a will.

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