The Executor’s Responsibility Checklist

When you find out a loved one who passed away named you the executor of their estate, it is a great honor. It means that the respected and trusted you enough to charge you with handling their final affairs. This honor comes with great responsibility. But what exactly is that responsibility? If you find yourself asking, “Okay, so what now?” you’re certainly not alone. Read on for a breakdown of what the role of executor entails in California.

File a Petition for Probate with the court.

Even though you’ve been named executor in the Will, you cannot begin your duties until you are appointed by the court. The court will issue Letters Testamentary, and then you can begin.

Marshal the estate’s assets.

“Marshalling” the assets refers to taking control of them by retitling them. At this time, you should make sure all estate assets are positioned to begin earning or continue earning income for the estate. Ensure that tenants of rental properties are paying rent and that liquid assets (cash) are held in accounts where they will grow with interest. Real property should also be insured.

Take inventory.

The labor intensity of this task can vary greatly depending on the size of the estate. Some assets will need to be appraised by a court-appointed referee. You will have to file the finalized inventory and appraisal of the estate with the court.

Notify creditors.

You will need to reach out to anyone and everyone the deceased person may have owed money. Once you give creditors notice, they have sixty days to file a claim. If they do not, they are barred from collecting their debts. 

Sell real property if requested by beneficiaries.

Often, people do not want to jointly own real estate. For this reason, you may be asked to sell property so that they can split the profit instead.

Distribute assets to beneficiaries and close the estate.

Finally, you will need to report what you’ve done to the court, and ask them to authorize you to make final distributions. Once that is done, the estate can be closed

If you have further questions about probate or the role of an executor, the Solan, Park & Robello team is here to help. We offer a free 15 minute telephone consultation for new clients. To schedule yours, give us a call at (415) 777-3300. We can’t wait to hear from you!









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Solan, Park & Robello

Solan, Park & Robello is a full-service probate and estate planning firm offering experienced counsel in a wide range of estate planning matters—from preparation to administration to litigation.

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