If a California estate is worth no more than $184,500, probate is simplified, and some steps can be skipped. Even then, however, the probate court must authorize the named executor to act as the estate’s representative. An executor’s duties include the following steps.
Locate and notify heirs
The executor must notify lineal heirs and named beneficiaries of the decedent’s passing whether or not a will exists. This endeavor can be time-consuming if no contact information accompanies the will.
The executor will post a death notice in a local newspaper, requesting creditors to contact the executor. In addition, the executor will examine the estate’s financial records and search the home for outstanding bills.
California uses one Inventory and Appraisal form to list assets and their appraised value. The executor must provide the appraiser with a detailed description of each item.
The executor manages the liquidation of appropriate assets. This process may entail selling vehicles, real estate, contents of the homes, artwork and other collectibles.
Pay taxes and creditors
The executor pays the federal income taxes and any applicable federal estate tax first, followed by other creditors. California does not have an estate tax.
Once the creditors receive their payment, the executor distributes the remaining assets according to the directives in the will. If there is no will, the assets go to the lineal heirs in the order specified by the state, with a surviving spouse and children topping the priority list. Probate rules may be difficult to comprehend. Seek professional advice if you don’t understand your legal responsibilities.
Settling an estate can be a time-consuming and laborious task. Ensure you know the requirements before accepting this role.