Bay Area Estate And Tax Planning Law Firm

When your parents name you executor

On Behalf of | Nov 7, 2023 | Estate Planning |

It is not unusual for parents in California, or anywhere else in the country, to name an adult child as the executor of their estate. While this is an honor, it is also a heavy responsibility. Individuals chosen to be executors of a parent’s will may want to consider whether this is a function they can and want to perform.

What executors do

Executors are responsible for carrying out the wishes of the deceased while also meeting all of the estate’s legal and financial obligations. If you opt to accept the role of executor, you will be responsible for many tasks, including:

  • Calculating the deceased’s assets
  • Inventorying property
  • Identifying and paying debts
  • Notifying the Social Security Administration of your parent’s death
  • Filing the will with probate court
  • Distributing assets to heirs after the will has
  • Closing bank accounts and credit cards
  • Filing the estate’s tax return

The challenges of managing a parent’s estate

The loss of a parent, even if their death was expected, is often deeply painful. You might want to consider whether you want to take on additional tasks while grieving. You will be expected to handle multiple legal and financial issues in a timely manner. Mistakes can slow down the probate process and, in extreme cases, can result in unwelcome legal challenges from others.

Another risk is that family members may be unhappy with the estate plan, and may pressure you to act in a way that is not in accordance with your parent’s will. Legally, you have an obligation to respect your parent’s wishes, but this kind of pressure can be emotionally difficult to deal with and may cause additional friction within your family.

If being an executor is not something you want to do, speak up. Explain that you are honored to be considered, but this is a responsibility that you rather not have. If you do choose to remain the executor, seek out professional advice as needed, so you are able to competently manage and close the estate.