The person who carries out the last wishes named in a California will or estate plan is an executor. It’s common for adult children to serve as the executor of their parents’ estate plan.
This doesn’t mean the task is any less daunting though. There are a lot of legal responsibilities and emotional labor that go into serving as the executor of an estate plan.
First steps as an executor
Executors are responsible for submitting the original will to the probate court upon the person’s death. In addition, executors are responsible for alerting creditors and the Social Security Administration. You’ll also need to give notice to:
- Insurance companies
- Other government agencies
The estate may or may not have to go through probate. This can generally be avoided with a thorough estate plan that’s been updated and is seen as legitimate in the court of law.
Closing the estate
The executor is responsible for overseeing the probate process (if there is one). They are also responsible for maintaining any property until it can be handed off to the proper beneficiary.
Distributing the assets to other family members and beneficiaries is also a part of the executor’s responsibilities. In addition, they will have to ensure that the estate’s debts and taxes are paid properly.
Seeking help and preparing
Serving as an executor can be incredibly draining. That’s why it’s important to get help when you need it and properly prepare. If you have the option, talk through the estate plan with your parents and ask questions while you can.
It’s important to lean on your support system during this time as well. Other family members can help you at various points, and there’s nothing shameful about asking for help when you need it.