Executors (or administrators) of estates shoulder a great deal of responsibility. For this reason, trusted professionals familiar with the process are often the best choices. However, in many cases, the deceased’s closest family member (child or spouse usually) is assigned this duty (either directly in the will or by a court), often without regard to whether they’re actually suited to shouldering the associated burden. It’s important to note that a potential executor is not bound to accept the position, but if that person does accept, then they are bound by several duties and may be held liable if they aren’t performed correctly. Though the scope of an executor’s job varies wildly depending on the size and complexity of the estate she’s managing, here’s a broadly applicable checklist of responsibilities that your clients who become executors should consider.
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David R. Duringer, JD, LL.M, is a concealed firearm instructor and tax lawyer specializing in business and estate planning; licensed to practice law in the states of California and Washington. He is managing shareholder at Protective Law Corporation, serving Southern California from its Laguna Hills (Orange County) headquarters and satellite offices in San Diego County (Coronado and Carlsbad).
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