Last week we discussed the fact that when you assume the responsibilities of becoming the executor of someone’s California estate, one of your duties will be to pay the taxes owed by both the deceased person and the estate itself. This week we turn to the additional duties you likewise will need to perform.
As Kiplinger reports, before you can perform any duties on behalf of the estate, you must first find the decedent’s original will and file it with the probate court of the county in which the decedent resided to begin the probate process. Note that you must file the original of the decedent’s will, not a copy of it. Therefore you may need to search through the decedent’s home, find the safe deposit box where (s)he placed his or her will, or contact the decedent’s attorney to see if (s)he has the original.
If the decedent lived alone, you should also secure his or her home. You may need to ask the probate court for permission to access the home. Then collect all the accumulated mail. You may want to file a change of address with the local post office so that you can receive any additional mail that the decedent receives during the probate process. Additionally, you should order several copies of the decedent’s death certificate so you close his or her bank accounts, credit card accounts and other accounts.
Estate administration duties
During the probate process, your duties as executor will include the following:
- Finding, collecting and inventorying all the assets of the estate
- Notifying the decedent’s creditors of his or her death and of the opening of his or her probate estate
- Paying the decedent’s bills, taxes, etc.
- Constructing and filing a final accounting of all the estate’s income and payout transactions that occurred during probate
- Distributing the estate’s remaining assets to the decedent’s designated beneficiaries
Once you do all these things, you can then close the estate. This is general educational information and not intended to provide legal advice.