You’ve heard it said that we can’t “take it with us” when we pass away. This means we’ll likely leave behind lots of documents, financial obligations, or possessions for loved ones to take care of when we die. When you assign someone in your family to take care of these matters for you, this person is known as an executor. If you’re a California resident, here are some important things to know about appointing an executor for your estate planning process.
An executor is your representative
When it comes to estate planning, an executor is an individual who will serve as your representative. This person will be responsible for handling your final wishes. The executor will work on behalf of your estate from the time you pass away until the probate process is finished.
Your estate is defined by all the things you own. You don’t have to be extremely wealthy to have an estate. Your estate can consist of your vehicles, homes, investments, personal items, and the money in your checking or savings account.
What an executor does
The executor you choose during the estate planning process will protect and manage all parts of your estate, pay any taxes and debts you owe, and give the assets you designate to your beneficiaries. Even if you don’t have any assets, it is still best to have a solid plan in place for how your assets will be distributed.
It is a good idea to avoid dying intestate, which is when someone passes away without a will. If you don’t have a will in place, all of your assets will be divided according to laws in the state where you were a resident. The courts will appoint an administrator on your behalf who will serve as the executor.