We represent numerous executors and estate administrators here at the Law Offices of Alice A. Salvo in California. Virtually all of them ask us questions about their duties and how to perform them.
We therefore thought it would be helpful to answer here on our website the five most common questions the American Bar Association says that executors ask.
1. Am I a fiduciary?
Yes. This means that you must act for the benefit of the estate and its heirs and beneficiaries.
2. What kind of duties must I perform?
Your precise duties as an executor will vary according to the size and complexity of the estate, as well as the provisions of the decedent’s will. In general, you can expect to do the following:
- Obtain Letters Testamentary from the probate court and several copies of the decedent’s death certificate
- Gather, secure, inventory and value the estate’s assets
- Notify the decedent’s creditors of his or her passing and the opening of the probate estate
- Pay the decedent’s bills and taxes
- Manage the estate’s assets throughout the probate period
- Distribute the assets according to the specifications in the decedent’s will
Ultimately you will need to compile a final estate accounting and close the estate
3. How do I manage the estate’s assets?
The nature and extent of your estate management duties will depend on what types of assets came into the estate at the decedent’s death. For some, such as life insurance proceeds, you likely will have to file a claim. For others, such as tangible personal property, you likely will have to hire one or more professional appraisers to value these assets. You likewise probably will need to hire other specialty appraisers if the decedent owned real estate or had business interests.
4. How do I distribute the estate’s assets?
The decedent’s will should give you precise instructions on how to distribute the estate’s assets and to whom. It may also give you guidance on when you should do this.
5. How do I close the estate?
Once you have paid all the decedent’s legitimate bills and taxes, as well as the estate’s expenses, the court will grant you permission to close the estate
For additional information, please visit this page of our website.