What to Expect if You've Been Appointed as an Executor

According to a 2018 study by EstateExec.com, on average, settling an estate takes the executor about 16 months or approximately 570 hours of effort. Being appointed as the executor of an estate is a great honor that comes with huge responsibilities. As the executor, you are required to perform specific tasks during the probate process, including collecting and evaluating the decedent's assets, settling debts and taxes, filing estate tax returns, and distributing remaining assets to the beneficiaries.

If you have been appointed an executor by a deceased friend, relative, or probate court, understanding your rights and duties is important to allow you to act diligently, ethically, and in accordance with the decedent's wishes. Attorney Rodney Gould is dedicated to providing outstanding legal services and guiding executors and fiduciaries through the estate administration process. As an experienced California estate planning attorney, he can provide you with the knowledgeable legal counsel and reliable advocacy you need to perform your expected duties and responsibilities as an executor to an estate.

The Law Office of Rodney Gould proudly serves clients across Los Angeles, California, and the surrounding communities of West Hollywood, Sherman Oaks, Beverly Hills, and Studio City.

What is an Executor?

In the state of California, an executor or "personal representative" is a person appointed by the probate court to administer a decedent's estate and distribute the estate’s assets according to the provisions of the will or California's intestate succession laws. The primary role of the executor is to protect the decedent's property, pay debts and taxes, and ultimately transfer the remaining assets and property to heirs and beneficiaries.

Who Can Serve as an Executor in California?

Before you can be appointed as an executor in California, you must meet the following requirements:

  • You must be at least 18 years old
  • You must be of sound mind

Grounds for Removal

According to California State Probate Code Section 8502, an executor may be removed under the following circumstance:

  • The personal representative has wasted, embezzled, mismanaged, or committed a fraud on the estate, or is about to do so.
  • The executor is incapable of properly executing the duties of the office or is otherwise not qualified for appointment as personal representative.
  • The executor has wrongfully neglected the estate or has long neglected to perform any act as personal representative.
  • Removal of the executor is deemed necessary to protect the estate or interested persons.
  • Any other cause provided by state or for violating state laws.

The Executor's Role

The role of an executor comes with various duties and responsibilities, including:

  • Collecting all the decedent's vital documents
  • Gathering and evaluating the deceased person's assets and debts
  • Informing the beneficiaries, creditors, and other interested parties
  • Filing the decedent's will or estate plan with the probate court
  • Recovering all money, including rents and interests, owed to the estate
  • Administering the estate
  • Paying debts and taxes
  • Filing estate taxes and final tax returns
  • Transferring the estate assets to the beneficiaries

Above all, executors have a fiduciary duty to fulfill their duties justly, act ethically, and according to the decedent's wishes. The executor must also follow all applicable state laws.

Compensation for the Executor

Serving as an executor in the state of California requires substantial time and effort. Under California law, the executor or personal representative can be compensated using the estate’s funds. The executor can receive:

  • 4% of the first $100,000 of the estate value
  • 3% on the next $100,000
  • 2% on the next $800,000
  • 1% on the next $9 million
  • 0.5% on the next $15 million
  • A reasonable amount, as determined by the court, for estate value or amounts greater than $25 million

Trust an Experienced Attorney for Help

Estate administration involves complicated processes. Before accepting your role as an executor, understanding your rights, roles, and legal responsibilities is important. This will help ensure that you can settle the decedent's final affairs diligently, ethically, and in accordance with the provisions of the will. A knowledgeable estate planning attorney can offer you detailed guidance and help you make important decisions.

Attorney Rodney Gould has devoted his career to offering experienced legal guidance and advocacy to clients in the legal matters of estate planning, estate administration, and probate. As your legal counsel, he will review the situation, educate you about your roles as an executor and how to achieve them. He will also help you communicate with the other parties involved in the process, settle taxes and debts, and distribute assets to inheritors.

Additionally, Rodney Gould will help prepare a comprehensive checklist to assist and guide you through the executorship and estate administration process. Using his extensive legal understanding, he can help manage court proceedings and avoid unnecessary liabilities. With the assistance and guidance of an experienced estate planning attorney, you can perform your roles and responsibilities diligently and smoothly.

Reach Out to the Law Office of Rodney Gould

Contact The Law Office of Rodney Gould today to schedule a case assessment with a knowledgeable estate planning attorney. Attorney Rodney Gould can offer you the comprehensive legal counsel, assistance, and advocacy you need to make crucial decisions in the estate administration process. The firm serves clients throughout Los Angeles, West Hollywood, Sherman Oaks, Beverly Hills, and Studio City, California.


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