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What Does The Executor Do After A Death?


After a death, the executor will be the primary contact and the administrator of the estate for the court. The executor will report to the court and get instructions about how to administer and distribute the estate.

How Long Does An Executor Have To Settle The Estate?

There is no fixed period of time for the executor to settle an estate. As long as the executor is making progress toward closing the estate they can take as much time as they need. There are some requirements for the minimum amount of time; in most cases, it can’t be done in less than ten months. If it goes more than one year they have to appear in court and tell the judge why they are not done yet, but it’s not disciplinary. They just need to explain to the court what it is they’re working on. If they’re trying to get a house sold, liquidating a business, or something else that is time consuming then the court understands and will give them plenty of time to do that.

Does An Executor Have To Show Accounting To A Beneficiary?

The executor does have to show the accounting to the beneficiaries. The executor has to do any accounting in a very specific format that is established by state law. Those records must be given to the court and the beneficiaries at the same time. Then, if they have any questions or objections that the executor can’t resolve they can ask the court to resolve those issues.

Are Beneficiaries Entitled To Receive A Copy Of The Will?

The beneficiaries have the right to receive a copy of the will. Once an executor files the case in court the will becomes a public document. At this point anyone can go and get a copy of the will from the court.

How Do Executors Get Paid?

Executors get paid by receiving a percentage of the estate in a sliding scale. In smaller estates the executor gets a higher percentage and the percentage gets smaller the larger the estate. It’s all calculated on the gross value of the estate, which means the total value of all of the assets without reduction for the amount of debts. It’s just the assets of the estate added up that form the basis for the executor’s pay.

When Must A Beneficiary Be Notified? What If The Executor Cannot Find A Beneficiary?

Beneficiaries must be notified in order for an executor or administrator to be named for an estate. In the event that a beneficiary cannot be immediately found then the executor must do a due diligence search and show the court that all ordinary ways of finding a person were exhausted. Then the court may allow for a published notice to the beneficiaries to be placed in a newspaper of general circulation for the area where the decedent lived. That will be deemed to be adequate as notice to the beneficiaries who could not be found.

Can An Executor Of An Estate Ever Be Removed?

It is possible for the executor of an estate to be removed if they’re not keeping up on their job, if they’re not progressing through administering the estate, or if they have done something wrong. Some examples could be, if they’ve taken some of the estate money for their own purposes, made early distributions without the court’s permission, or anything else where they’ve done something with the estate assets without getting permission from the court first. When this happens the court can and generally will remove them and appoint a new person to take over.

Do Beneficiaries Of a Will Have Any Rights?

Beneficiaries of a will have several rights. They have the right to be kept notified about what’s happening with the estate, to know if assets are being sold and the terms of the sale, to get a list of all of the assets of the estate in an estate inventory, and then to get the accounting at the end of the process prior to the distribution.

When Does The Executor Have The Authority To Change A Will?

The executor never has the authority to change the will.

What Expenses Can The Executor Of A Will Claim?

The executor can claim all of their actual expenses. This can include things such as mileage, postage, office supplies if they have had to pay utility bills, or had to do some improvements of the property. Anything that is an actual expense that was for the benefit of the estate can be claimed by the executor for reimbursement.

For more information on Duties Of An Executor In California, a free assessment of your needs is your next best step. Get the information and legal answers you are seeking by calling (626) 385-6303 today.

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