If you are the executor for a loved one’s will, chances are at least a portion, if not the entirety of the estate must pass through California probate. The process is often time-consuming as it has a significant number of statutes. Depending on the details of the estate, previous court cases at the state and national levels may influence the outcome. As an executor, you have a lot of work ahead of you.

According to Kiplinger, it is your job to protect the estate property. This is the first stage of probate. The sooner you take care of these items, the faster you can move to the next step. Finding the original will is a priority, as it is a requirement for probate.

Financial organizations require an official copy of the death certificate as proof the owner of the account has passed away. You can typically order them from the funeral home. They are inexpensive and never expire. After six months, you must request copies from the Department of Health, and they do not produce them for everyone. Keep the process simple by ordering more than you think you need, at least ten, from the funeral home. It can save time and frustration later in the process.

Securing the decedent’s property and safeguarding valuables may require a marshal’s presence if your loved one had a landlord or lived in a gated community. Changing the locks and passcode on the security system can deter thieves as well as family members who may want to claim specific valuables, bypassing the will and probate. As executor, you must inventory all property and keep valuables in a location separate from the home.

Canceling credit cards, collecting the mail and notifying creditors are also your responsibility. As probate moves forward, you may find the process requires a significant amount of time and effort on your part. Visit our webpage for more information on this topic.