The Elder and Disability Law Firm, APC Sept. 27, 2018

California residents who are asked to be the executor of an estate or serve as a trustee of a trust should understand the many financial and administrative duties they will have. Individuals who accept those positions should be prepared to spend a significant amount of time fulfilling their duties, which may take away time from their family and interfere with their career.

As an executor or trustee, individuals will be agreeing to uphold a fiduciary duty to administer and settle the terms of the will or trust according to the contents of the legal documents that are involved. They will have to make decisions and take actions that are in line with what is best for the welfare of the estate and any beneficiaries. According to the law, there are is no difference between individual fiduciary duties and corporate fiduciary duties, and individuals who accept the duties are obligated to efficiently fulfill their responsibilities.

There is another option for individuals who want to honor the requests of a family member or friend but may not be able handle the fiduciary duties required. An agency agreement can be used to obtain executor or trustee assistance from a corporate professional. Consultations can be made with the experienced professional to determine which tasks should be placed in the care of the professional. With this type of arrangement, individuals who are serving as an executor or trustee will be able to assume the role, but the liability and responsible for the role would lay with the third party.

An attorney who offers estate administration and probate services may assist clients with ensuring that the appropriate types of estate planning documents have been completed so that their wishes are honored after death. Typical services may include drafting the provisions of trusts and executing wills.

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