Probate, Estate Planning and Trust Law
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Naming an executor

It may come as a surprise to many in Woodland Hills how great of an emphasis experts place on beginning one’s estate planning at an early age. That is likely due to the fact that, according to recent information shared by the American Bar Association, 55 percent of Americans die without ever having drafted a will. One of the main benefits that creating a will offers may be the freedom it gives one in naming his or her own executor or personal representative. Perhaps no decision in regards to creating a will is as important, as that person will be one to act as proxy for the testator.

Most estate planning experts may recommend that one clearly states in his or her will who their executor will be. However, should a testator omit such information, the California Probate Code does allow for a certain degree of interpretation to be applied as to his or her intent. If the terms of a will seem to imply that testator wants a certain individual to oversee the dispersal of his or her estate (yet stops short of actually naming that individual as executor), the court may choose to consider said individual to be the executor.

One may also include provisions in his or her will that allow another individual to right to name an executor, coexecutor or successor executor. If more than two people are given this authority, their decision as to who will be the executor must be unanimous (unless one chooses to give up the responsibility). One may also name one to be an executor even if he or she is under the age of majority. A coexecutor or other party chosen by the court will simply manage his or her responsibilities until he or she comes of age. 

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