Serving as executor can be a big job

When someone is named as executor of a California estate, the tasks they are faced with may be confusing and substantial. The executor, who is named in the will, must file and pay remaining taxes from the estate, handle creditors, value assets and distribute property to the named beneficiaries. Being named executor is often an honor and an expression of trust from the deceased person, but it is also a serious legal responsibility that requires a significant amount of preparation and work.

Indeed, serving as an executor can be a major job. The executor may have to spend time reviewing the will and researching the assets of the person that passed away. Executors have a fiduciary duty to treat the estate's assets as the original owner would. In addition, they can face difficult conflicts if beneficiaries quarrel over the distribution of assets. They may also discover unpleasant surprises that can be shocking to the beneficiaries, such as large debts that must be paid out to creditors.

Executors also often have to deal with substantial quantities of paperwork, like benefits statements, marriage certificates, discharge papers and even Social Security numbers. Past tax returns can be important when preparing a final tax document for the estate. Executors will also need to deal with investment accounts, bank accounts, credit card bills and mortgage loans. Some types of property transfer, especially those involving homes and automobiles, will also require the transfer of deeds or titles.

An estate executor may have a range of questions about the duties involved. Thankfully, an estate administration and probate attorney could help the executor address the legal requirements associated with the job.

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