Knowing what an executor does is important for families in California to understand. In addition, it is helpful for families to understand executor liability and what to do if an executor violates his or her fiduciary duties.
By definition, the executor is responsible for the disposition of property and possessions of the estate as noted in the decedent's will or other estate planning documents. Serving as the executor for the last will and testament of the decedent can be overwhelming, but it is an honor the executor will likely take very seriously. The executor has the significant responsibility of making sure the decedent's last wishes are fulfilled concerning the disposition of their property and possessions.
Serving as an executor is a significant responsibility entrusted to the executor that should be taken seriously. Executors are required to execute their duties with honesty and diligence. Executors have fiduciary duties which require them to act in good faith in executing the decedent's will. In general, the executor is responsible for paying debts and creditors and distributing the remaining money and property according to the decedent's wishes.
In doing so, the executor has the duty to locate the decedent's assets; determine if the last will and testament should go through the probate process; locate and contact the individuals named in the will that may inherit money or property; make sure the appropriate filings are made in the probate court; and wrap up the decedent's affairs, which can include a number of important tasks. The process of administering a will is an important responsibility and in some circumstances, may carry liability for executors who violate their duties. Because of the significant role an executor plays, it is important for executors and families to understand duties of the role and the legal liability it carries.