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Create an executor checklist to avoid estate problems

On Behalf of | Mar 15, 2022 | Estate Administration & Probate, Probate Litigation |

An executor must know of the duties that are assigned to his or her care. In California, any person who acts irresponsibly in this role could face a probate lawsuit from a beneficiary or creditor. Making a checklist helps an executor to avoid unnecessary probate litigation.

Know where the legal documents are

Executors are supposed to be responsible and organized, but they cannot fulfill their duties if they don’t locate the estate documents that they need to file with the court. The executor and the testator must agree on a location to place the documents, such as the will, power of attorney, property deeds and business contracts.

Make estate bank accounts

It’s recommended to create a separate checking or savings account for estate funds. The testator’s funds must be kept separate from the executor’s funds. Another option is to create a joint account with the estate owner and his or her spouse or family member. The executor can decide to go to court and assign the title and property in his or her name. Overall, if the funds are lost or misused, the executor could face probate litigation.

Note the individual’s preferences

Not every testator wants a funeral and burial service. Some people want to donate to dozens of charities while others want to donate solely to family members and friends. The executor has to make a list of each individual’s preferences in writing and have this document signed by the testator.

Protecting trust

Executors are given the ultimate trust and responsibility of protecting another person’s assets. Before choosing a person as executor, the estate owner is encouraged to create a checklist of duties that need to be performed during the estate administration. The executor must know exactly what to do to reduce the threat of lawsuits.