The executor is usually named in the will, but it is the court that formally appoints the executor after a prior hearing. An executor of an estate is a person appointed to administer the last will of a deceased person. The principal duty of the executor is to carry out the instructions to manage the affairs and wishes of the deceased. The executor is appointed by the testator of the will (the person making the will) or by a court, in cases where there has been no prior appointment.
Just because the court appoints you as executor of a will in California does not mean that you automatically have the authority to enforce the terms of the will. The court must appoint you first. You will file a petition for probate and the court will issue a court order naming you executor. The court will also issue Probate Letters, which is the document that gives you authority to collect assets and make transfers.
Because the court appoints the executor of a will, someone may be able to challenge your appointment. Therefore, it is best not to act according to the terms of the will until you have the official sanction of the court. There are two main ways to appoint someone to act as executor. First, the person making the will, also known as a testator, can name a person as executor.
The testator would stipulate this appointment in the will. Once the testator dies, the designated executor may need to file a petition with the appropriate probate court to be confirmed as executor. First, one of the most important duties of an executor is to settle any debt and satisfy any creditors that the deceased (the person who has died) may have. Because the probate process requires a lot of interaction with the probate court and the filing of many legal documents, the executor often seeks the professional help of an attorney (called a “probate lawyer”).
State law generally limits who can serve, because executors have a lot of responsibility and access to the deceased person's property. The court will appoint an estate appraiser who will be responsible for fixing the value of all the assets in the estate. The state may have a list that provides other instructions when such a situation arises, including a long list of people eligible to become executor. For example, if the deceased person was collecting social security benefits, the executor would notify the U.S.
Social Security Administration of the death so that payments would be stopped. For this reason, make sure you fully understand the responsibilities of becoming an executor of an estate before committing to it. As the executor of a will in California, you have the right to receive payment for the work you do collecting, liquidating and transferring property and paying creditor claims. As executor of a will in California, you will deal with the assets that belong to the estate and, ultimately, the beneficiaries.
Finally, an executor is responsible for closing any miscellaneous matter that has remained pending since the death of the deceased. In addition, an attorney will review your rights, responsibilities and other procedures related to becoming an executor of an estate. The executor has a legal obligation to comply with the wishes of the deceased and act in the interest of the deceased. Once the executor is appointed, he must collect all of the deceased person's assets, from real property to movable property.
If you become executor of an estate without a will, you should know that it is a complex process. An executor in this situation should use the services of professionals sparingly and understand the time commitment he will have to make instead. .