What are the duties of the
Executor of a deceased person’s Estate?
Related Pages inSection
- Beneficiary under 18? Is that permitted?
- Charitable Remainder Trust
- Estate & Gift Taxes
- Executor – What are the duties?
- Health Care Directives
- Living Trust
- Questionnaire for Estate Planning
- Sample California Will – Where does your stuff go?
Typically, an executor must:
- Find the deceased person’s assets and manage them until they are distributed to inheritors.
- Decide whether or not probate court proceedings are needed. Probate FAQ.)
- Figure out who inherits property.
- File the will (if any) in the local probate court. Finding and Filing the Will.
- Handle day-to-day details.
- Set up an estate bank account.
- Use estate funds to pay continuing expenses.
- Pay debts. Notice to Creditor of Death.
- Pay taxes.
- Supervise the distribution of the deceased person’s property. White & Williams * Nolo.com
Common pitfalls include …
buying assets for yourself or a family member from the estate or trust, whether at market price, American Bar Assoc
the duty of care,
requires a fiduciary to carefully manage trust or estate assets. “prudent investor rule,” which requires a fiduciary to use reasonable care, skill, and caution in managing assets. An executor or administrator is held to a “prudent man” standard, which is lower than a “prudent investor.” Assets must be sold at proper prices and on proper terms.
Duty of Impartiality
A fiduciary must not favor any beneficiary over another. the fiduciary must treat himself no better than any other beneficiary. Lindlaw.com
NO, it’s too much. How do I get out of this obligation?
A renunciation is a legal document that states the person named in the will as executor will not act as executor for the estate. Sign the renunciation form or petition and file it legal Zoom * Salvolaw.com * Legal Zoom *
Can a trustee resign?
Yes. If a trustee wants to resign, s/he can do so:
- As explained in the trust document;
- If the trust is revocable, by getting the person who has the power to revoke the trust to consent;
- If the trust is irrevocable, by consulting with all adult beneficiaries; or
- By getting a Court order after filing a petition asking the Court for permission to resign.
Unless the beneficiaries say they do not want one, the trustee must file an accounting of all trust transactions while he or she was acting as trustee. Santa Clara Court *
What if the acting trustee dies or resigns or can no longer be the trustee?
If a trustee dies or resigns, is conserved or is declared “incompetent” by a court, or files for bankruptcy, then the trustee can no longer act as trustee and must be replaced.
Some trusts have two or more co-trustees and the trust may say that the remaining co-trustee will be the sole trustee, or may say how a new trustee will be appointed.
If the vacancy cannot be filled, then a trust company may agree to serve if all adult beneficiaries agree. If that fails, any person who has a financial stake in the trust or any person named as trustee can file a petition to have a trustee appointed.
Any beneficiary who is 14 years of age or older can nominate a trustee, even though a minor under the age of 18 is not legally qualified to serve as trustee. Santa Clara Court *
What if the responsibilities are too much for me?
Consider hiring an attorney, bookkeeper, accountant or corporate trustee to help you. (A corporate trustee can manage the investments and do the recordkeeping.) If you feel you cannot handle any of the responsibilities due to work, family demands or any other reason, you can resign and let the next successor trustee step in. If no other successor trustee has been named, or none is willing or able to serve, a corporate trustee can usually be named. * Estate Planning.com *
Three Don’ts at a Trustee or Executor
When a loved one dies AIG
Steps to settling an estate
Locating Important Papers