Assets held in your California estate at the time of your death will likely be subject to state probate laws. During the probate process, your estate is represented by an individual either appointed by the person overseeing the case or who is appointed in your will.
The role of the executor
An executor is responsible for several tasks such as notifying family members, creditors and others about your death. This person will also need to take an inventory of your estate, review creditor claims and oversee the process of distributing assets to beneficiaries. Finally, an estate representative will be responsible for providing the court with a full accounting of its assets before the case can be discharged.
Almost anyone can be an executor
An estate representative can be anyone over the age of 18 who is of sound mind. However, as a practical matter, you’ll want to consider only those who are the most likely to respect your final wishes and who are capable of following the law. It may be worthwhile to walk your chosen representative through the estate and probate administration process prior to your death. This will give your executor some idea of what to expect after you pass as well as insight into how to obtain assistance if needed.
Choosing an executor is one of the most important decisions that you’ll make as part of the estate planning process. Ideally, you will choose someone who pays attention to detail and lives relatively close to where the case will be heard. It may also be a good idea to name alternate executors in case your original choice is unable or unwilling to fulfill this role when the time comes.