If you live in California and you are thinking about getting a will ready, then you might be curious about the role of the executor. The executor is crucial for settling an estate and picking the right one is important for having the estate settled smoothly.
What does an executor do?
An executor has five basic tasks: they look after the items in the will, identify how much cash the estate needs to pay to settle debts and costs, pays for those debts and costs (which includes funeral arrangements), prepares and pays the final tax settlements, and then follows the will to give assets and items to the people or entities who should receive them. These tasks complete all the financial and legal obligations for the estate. That makes them crucial for ensuring assets pass smoothly to where you want them to go and for closing out debts, taxes, and other financial issues.
Who should an executor be?
Many people choose a family member or friend to be the executor of their will. On the one hand, you can trust that they will try to do a good job. On the other hand, executing an estate can be a very long and complicated process, even for smaller estates. Banks and law firms often have estate departments with experienced specialists to help work through estates. You may choose to designate such a bank or law firm as the executor, or name them co-executors with a family member or friend.
It’s never too early to start thinking about your will, because you can always update it later. Wills should also be updated regularly to reflect changes in your life situation, preferences, or family structure.