After the passing of a loved one, many actions need to take place to ensure that his or her final affairs have been properly settled. Even though an individual may have left behind instructions regarding the closing of a California estate, someone else must make sure that those instructions are followed throughout probate. That someone is the executor of the will.
The person who created the will has the ability to appoint an executor if he or she wishes to do so. If not, the court will appoint a representative. Still, the executor has a number of duties to address during probate proceedings, including paying any remaining debts and distributing assets. However, the duties do not end there, and the will may not give instructions for each task. For instance, the executor will need to close financial accounts, cancel credit cards and subscriptions, and complete numerous other tasks.
Additionally, it is important that the executor remembers not to distribute assets until all debts and taxes associated with the estate have been paid. If distribution takes place too early, there may not be enough remaining funds to cover these liabilities. This could mean that the executor could become personally responsible for those outstanding balances.
While being asked to be an executor can seem like an honor, it is important to remember that it is a monumental job. Probate can last for years, and if the estate is particularly complex, it can be a stressful process to complete. Fortunately, California residents acting as executors can obtain help throughout the process from legal professionals well-versed in this area of law.