Basic considerations for a potential executor

Being the executor under a will is not just an honorary position to show one's importance to a relative or friend as this role comes with many responsibilities and can take a lot of one's time. People in California might want to know what they are agreeing to when they become an executor.

It could take quite some time to settle an estate, and the executor position involves a lot of organizing and some knowledge of finances or at least the ability to understand important financial matters. If people do not feel confident about handling finances or do not have the time to diligently perform tasks related to the estate, then they might need to decline the role.

Even when wanting to help, someone who is not prepared can hurt the estate or incur personal liability when mishandling assets. If actions taken by an executor seem fraudulent or negligent, the person can be sued. The estate could be harmed, which means the testator's wishes may not be met.

If one wants to perform the duties of an executor and feels confident enough to do so, using sensible judgement typically limits the risk. Working with the testator is helpful to clarify his or her wishes, and communicating clearly with beneficiaries is advisable. Executors do receive compensation for their job, but they should not abuse their position by taking additional profit.

Taking care of someone's estate is often a complicated process, and estate administration attorneys can often be of assistance to an executor in this regard. Just as executors should determine whether they are capable are handling the job, a testator should make sure during the estate planning process that the proposed executor of a will is the right person.

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