Question 1: What does an executor have to do?
Anyone appointed to the position of an executor has to perform a number of tasks as required under the probate code. The executor is responsible for settling a deceased person’s estate, meaning he or she has to find out what the deceased person owned and make sure that it is distributed to new owners and that bona fide creditors are paid.
Question 2: What is an estate inventory?
One of the executor’s first duties is to marshall and then take an accounting of all the decedent’s property. The executor will have to find out what the decedent owned and list it in an Inventory document that is submitted to the court. The inventory lists all assets owned by the decedent, as well as their values. The executor cannot sell or transfer any of the property to new owners until he or she knows exactly what the estate contains.
Question 3: What about the personal representative and estate administrators?
In California, an executor is someone who is appointed by a court to manage the estate by the decedent in the decedent’s last will and testament. An estate administrator, on the other hand, is someone who was appointed by the court to administer the estate because the decedent failed to nominate an executor. Additionally, the term “personal representative” is a broader term that includes both executors and estate administrators. Regardless of the terminology used, all three terms refer to someone who has to settle the estate and who has the same duties under California probate law.
Probate is a complex and time consuming process. It is wise to retain the service of an experienced and qualified probate attorney to assist with the many requirements of probate. The fees for a probate attorney are paid for by estate assets, not the personal representative’s own funds.
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