The decision to create a will is an enormous one. A will makes clear the testator’s intentions regarding their estate and ensures that their assets are distributed according to their wishes.
Basically, an estate executor is responsible for facilitating the probate process according to the deceased’s will and California’s laws. As you can imagine, this is a huge responsibility – and one that you should carefully about before accepting.
Whether you were taken by surprise after your loved one died or not, there are two questions you need to ask before formally accepting the role of an executor:
1. Do you have time for the job?
Probate is generally a time-consuming process. As an executor, you will be responsible for tracing the decedent’s assets, identifying their heirs, paying off their debts and filing their final taxes.
Depending on the complexity of the estate, it can take months or years to fully settle the estate. During that time, you may have numerous meetings with legal professionals, appraisers, real estate agents and the court. While this is manageable for many, some people simply have lives that are already complicated and hectic, making the job a real burden.
2. Do you have the skills to act as an executor?
While you may get help from professionals like financial planners, CPAs and attorneys, it is important to understand that you cannot delegate your fiduciary duties to a third party. As such, it is important that you have the skills necessary to act as an executor. You need to be able to stay organized and competently navigate the family dynamics that you could arise while performing your duties.
The decision to serve as an estate’s executor is a significant one, so you can refuse to serve. Find out how you can safeguard your interests while serving as an estate’s executor in California.