Distributions refer to one of the final stages closing out a California estate, with the delivery of assets or cash to a given heir. This can only be accomplished after all taxes due have been paid and after resolving all debts.

Distributions are the last stage because it is the job of the executor to ensure that everyone else, like creditors, is paid their due before additional distributions are made. Therefore, beneficiaries get their payments last.

Either the court or the instructions in the will dictate how the remaining estate assets should be distributed to heirs. One of the most important things that a personal representative can do is to generate an overall plan for estate administration. This includes:

  • How you intent to resolve debts?
  • Which assets will be sold?
  • Which assets will be distributed directly to someone else?
  • Which heirs will receive what?

Most often, a California will specifies a percentage of the net estate that each heir is eligible to receive. Formally making distributions of assets is one of the last things that an executor does when settling the estate.

Sometimes distributions can be permissibly made earlier if desired. Any executor transferring these assets should request that heirs sign a receipt for any distributions, confirming that they have received everything due to them at that point in time.

Talk to our estate planning attorneys in Pasadena to discuss your unique needs.

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