When you create a last will, you name an executor. This is the person who will handle the estate administration tasks. An executor is sometimes referred to as a personal representative. Traditionally, female executors have been referred to as executrixes. In California, the person who administers a probate proceeding where there is no will is referred to as an administrator.
The executor must guide the estate through probate. The probate court is charged with the responsibility of determining whether or not the will is in fact valid.
If there were any challenges to the validity of the will, the arguments would be presented during the probate process. This would certainly complicate things for the executor.
Assuming there are no challenges and all interested parties are on the same page, the executor will handle the business of the estate. This will involve the payment of final debts. Creditors must be notified, and final taxes must be paid as well.
Ultimately, the executor will prepare the remaining assets for distribution to the heirs in accordance with the wishes of the decedent as stated in the last will. This can involve property appraisals and liquidation, so it can be a bit complicated.
In the end, the court will close the estate, and the executor will be able to distribute assets to the inheritors.
Choosing an Executor
When you are choosing an executor, you should take a pragmatic approach. The executor will be handling the business of the estate, so you should select a business savvy individual, if possible.
The role of the executor can be a challenging one, and the job can be time-consuming. The executor must communicate with people who have an interest in the estate, so it can be a sensitive position to occupy if people get impatient.
Because of the above, you should make sure that the person that you want to nominate is ready, willing, and able to assume the role after you pass away.
Longevity is another factor. You want to have a reasonable expectation that the executor will be alive and well at the time of your passing.
You should also consider geographic location. If you live in northern California and the executor lives in Massachusetts, difficulties could arise. However, that should not be the determining factor.
If you do not want to name someone that you know personally, there are professional fiduciary entities that will handle the estate administration tasks.
Report on Estate Administration
Stating your wishes in writing is one thing, but you should also understand some things about estate administration when you are creating your estate plan.
We have prepared a special report on the subject, and you can obtain access to the report through this website.
The report is being offered free of charge, and you can visit our Reports section to order it.