Palm Springs Executor’s Rights Attorney

If you are a California resident who is nominated to be an executor of someone's estate, it is wise to become aware of your executor's rights and responsibilities. Estate executors serve an essential role in Palm Springs estate planning. An estate executor is a person or entity appointed by the testator to administer his or her estate. A testator typically nominates an executor and a back-up executor in his or her will. Executors have a fiduciary duty to administer the estate per the provisions of the will.

Depending on the size of the estate and the amount of work entailed in administering the estate, becoming an estate executor can become a great responsibility. At Heritage Legal, PC, founding attorney Chris Heritage has helped many Palm Springs residents act as estate executors. He is deeply familiar with California estate planning law and has helped executors enforce their rights and fulfill their duties per California law. Contact Heritage Legal, PC, today to learn how our Palm Springs estate planning law firm can help you.

Executor’s Rights After the Death of the Testator

Executors have a right to refuse the nomination, and if they do, the probate court will appoint another executor. However, most executors do accept the nomination, especially when a beloved friend or family member has passed away and appointed them as their executor. Sometimes, a testator does not appoint an executor in his or her will. When this happens, the probate court will formally appoint an executor after a hearing in which all interested parties receive notice. Typically, when the testator does not name an executor in the will, the court will appoint a relative of the testator.

The executor assumes the fiduciary duties and rights necessary to enforce the terms of the will while upholding California probate law. The executor will carry his or her fiduciary duty until the probate court discharges him or her from his obligations.

Executors Have the Right to Carry Out Their Practical Duties

After the appointment of the executor, he or she has the right to administer the estate according to the testator's wishes. Estate executors have broad powers in terms of the ability to conduct the business of the estate. The executor must ensure that he or she has paid all of the estate's debts and taxes. The executor has a duty to ensure that he or she manages the assets of the property well until he or she distributes them to the beneficiaries.

If the estate owns real property, the executor must secure that property and purchase insurance for the property against any potential loss. If anyone is living at the property, the executor must remove the individual. If the estate owns rental property, the executor must ensure that the tenant is paying the agreed-upon rent and deposit the rent funds into a checking or savings account owned by the estate.

The Executor Has a Right to Make Decisions on Behalf of the Estate

California law requires executors to file an inventory and appraisal of every estate asset. The court will provide a notice of which appraiser the executor must use. After completing the assessments, the executor must submit the inventory and appraisal to the probate court and give all interested parties notice.

The executor has the right to sell any personal or real property to pay the costs of administering the estate. In some cases, beneficiaries may request that the executor sell the real property they will inherit. If a sibling set is to inherit a house jointly owned by the estate, for example, they could ask the executor to sell the property and distribute the cash to them in equal amounts.

After the executor pays all creditors and debts of the estate, the executor has the right to close the estate. Closing the estate involves petitioning the probate court to make final distributions, paying the executor and his or her attorneys, and receiving a court order that permits the final disposition of the estate.

Executors Have the Legal Right to Defend the Estate in Litigation

Should someone bring legal action against the estate, the executor has a right to defend the estate. Further, if the estate of the deceased testator had a legal claim against a third party, the executor has a right to file a lawsuit on behalf of the estate. When an estate is large or complex, the executor might hire professionals like accountants, insurance brokers, property managers, or attorneys to help them manage the estate. Executors have a right to pay professionals their reasonable costs. Most executors rely heavily on them.

How Long Does an Executive Serve?

The length that an executor must serve depends on how long the various tasks of settling the estate take. Some estates are open for a few months to a year. If the estate is involved in any litigation, the estate could stay open for several years. As long as the estate is open, the executor must carry out his or her fiduciary duties. Many Palm Springs estate planning strategies now include pouring assets into a trust.

The Benefits of Hiring an Estate Planning Law Firm

Learning that a friend or family member nominated you as an estate executor is a tremendous honor and compliment. Executors enjoy many rights, but they also must meet their fiduciary duties. Sometimes the fiduciary duties of an executor can become overwhelming, especially for individuals who are working full time. At Heritage Legal, PC, our attorneys have helped many executors exercise their rights and fulfill their fiduciary duties. If you've been appointed as the executor to a friend or loved one's estate, one of our experienced Palm Springs estate planning attorneys can help. Contact our law firm today to discuss how we can help you today.

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