Being an executor in California means understanding the general duties that you are obligated to perform. Not every estate comes with the same responsibilities, but there are certain tasks that every executor is expected to complete.
Locate the beneficiaries of the will
Reviewing the terms of the will is the first step of an estate administration. After the estate owner passes away, you have to locate the beneficiaries in the will and alert them right away. Review the last known addresses that are included in the estate documents. You may have to perform searches of public records, such as white pages or court records. Other options are to place advertisements in local newspapers or ask the decedent’s friends and family.
Inform the creditors
Contact the creditors to pay off the estate’s debts. Nearly every testator has debts that must be paid to creditors, such as lenders or business partners, before the remaining assets are distributed to the beneficiaries.
Collect and identify the assets
An executor becomes the caretaker of the estate. He or she is responsible for collecting, identifying and maintaining the assets on another person’s behalf. This includes spending personal funds to repair, restore or store the property.
Bring a wrongful death suit
An executor has the right to file a wrongful death suit if the decedent’s family members do not. Executors should be aware of the statute of limitations for this kind of lawsuit.
Understanding your obligations
Most of an executor’s duties come into being after the estate owner dies. The work that they have to do depends on the terms of the will, the complexity of the estate and the wishes of the beneficiaries. An executor is given a list of tasks to perform, but any decision that he or she makes can be challenged in a probate court.