If you’re appointed as the representative of a loved ones’ estate, these responsibilities must be taken seriously, and it could be a good idea to empower yourself with the insight of an experienced probate attorney to guide you through the process. A probate attorney can help explain to you this important role of serving as representative, what you can expect and how to minimize your own personal liability. An executor should be a person identified in the decedent’s will as the executor.
A person serving in a similar role, but with assets placed inside a trust, is known as a trustee. The probate court in California will appoint an administrator if no trust or will exists. The primary responsibility of the executor is to clarify all of the assets inside the estate, pay off any debts, and distribute remaining assets to the rightful beneficiaries and heirs.
Some of the questions that might be asked of a probate attorney assisting an executor with this process include:
- How are inherited asset basis step ups calculated?
- Can gains from selling the decedent’s principle residence be excluded from taxation?
- Will any required minimum distribution rules impact beneficiaries of inherited retirement accounts?
- Is there a surviving spouse beneficiary who will have RMD rules apply?
Scheduling a consultation with an experienced California estate planning lawyer can be the first step towards clarifying your executor role.