Bay Area Estate And Tax Planning Law Firm

What are the fiduciary duties of an executor in California?

On Behalf of | Dec 16, 2022 | Blog, Estate Planning |

A lot of responsibility goes into being the executor of a California estate. Oftentimes, it can be hard to decipher what all goes into being an executor – people rarely do it twice.

What are fiduciary duties?

Fiduciary duties are responsibilities that are passed on with faith, confidence and trust that you’ll act on the best interests of the person who bestowed them to you. When you take on the role of executor, you’re taking on the fiduciary duties that come along with it.

Executors are usually close friends or family members. This is because the role of executor is one of great responsibility. When someone names an executor, it is because that person believes the executor will carry out his or her wishes.

Specific fiduciary duties that come with being an executor

Generally, executors get the message loud and clear that a lot of trust is being placed in them. In order to erase any confusion, fiduciary duties that are assigned to executors are as follows:

  • Loyalty: You’ll carry out the deceased’s last wishes and act in the best interests of the estate and the beneficiaries, putting your own interests aside.
  • Good Faith: You’ll be honest and transparent with everything you find while handling the estate.
  • Care: You’ll avoid leaking information from the estate plan and avoid causing harm to the beneficiaries, intentionally or not.
  • Obedience: You’ll follow the outlined estate plan, line by line.

Consequences for not adhering to fiduciary duty

The role of executor is assigned with good faith that the person will do the job honestly – however, this isn’t always the case. If an executor does not act in the best interests of the estate and the beneficiaries, they can be held legally liable and the beneficiaries can take them to court.