A person who is appointed as an executor of an estate in California has a specific fiduciary duty to adhere to the terms of a will as outlined by a person who created the will. This means that personal liability might be associated with the executor if this person fails to perform as required.
An executor is the entity or person nominated by the deceased individual to administer the estate of that person as directed through the will. Being nominated as an executor does not necessarily mean that the person has to accept the nomination. The court can appoint a different person if you refuse to accept an appointment as an executor.
However, the vast majority of people nominated to serve as an executor do accept the obligation because of the testator’s role to them in their personal life. The executor is responsible for assuming the fiduciary duties and powers of the legal requirements imposed by the state of California and the terms of the will.
While it is possible to appoint more than one executor, each person is jointly and severally liable to perform the requisite estate duties. This means that it can be very complicated if one more than one executor do not agree with the next steps to take in the management of the estate. Remember that no one can be forced to be an executor. Once a person has been appointed to this important role that party remains an executor until they have been discharged by the court.
The high level of fiduciary duty and the complexity of the various requirements associated with managing someone else’s estate and affairs can be overwhelming for a person who did not realize everything that was required at the time they stepped into this role.
Make sure that you have communicated your intention to name someone else as an executor of an estate in California and have given them the opportunity to decide whether or not this most appropriate for them.