Bay Area Estate And Tax Planning Law Firm

What fiduciary duties does an executor have in California?

On Behalf of | Dec 7, 2023 | Estate Planning, Fiduciaries |

Estate planning is a helpful way for those in California to put plans in motion that will ensure their loved ones are cared for when they are gone. A properly established estate helps ensure you pay your debts while leaving behind assets to your beneficiaries. However, you can only do so much to resolve your estate while living. After you pass away, your executor whom you have chosen needs to carry out your wishes while following fiduciary duties. Consider the fiduciary duties your executor must perform.

Taking inventory of assets

When most people pass away, they leave many assets behind. These assets aren’t only physical belongings, such as homes, jewelry, vehicles and other valuable items. Retirement, bank and investment accounts are also crucial for an executor to access and manage. You can make this aspect of being an executor as easy as possible by leaving clear instructions for accessing financial and other accounts.

Distributing assets

An executor’s duties also involve taking responsibility for your assets. For example, this individual can make investment decisions with your funds. An executor must also follow your wishes regarding asset distribution for beneficiaries. If you pass away without a will, this individual must follow California’s law of intestacy rules.

Communicating with many parties

Some of an executor’s most important fiduciary duties involve communication. Your executor will speak with beneficiaries, creditors, spouses and other parties with estate-related updates. Providing timely communication can help eliminate confusion for everyone involved.

An executor plays a vital role in helping to successfully close another party’s estate. This individual will take on a lot of responsibility. If the person you choose puts his or her interests above your wishes, this is a violation of duties, which can incur penalties. Violations can lead to a court denying your executor’s ability to receive compensation for his or her duties.