I am both the executor and trustee of a California estate. What are my responsibilities?

During the administration of an estate in California, assets may be divided between a trust and the decedent’s probate estate. Assets held in the trust will be overseen by the trustee appointed in that document. Assets not held in the trust, owned jointly, or having a named beneficiary will be overseen by the executor during the probate administration process. The executor is appointed by the probate court after filing the will. It is not uncommon for the executor and the trustee to be the same person.

If you were named both an executor and a trustee of an estate in California, consider taking the following steps:

  1. Contact an experienced San Diego probate court attorney right away for guidance.
  2. Review the terms of the trust to fully understand the goals of the trust.
  3. Review the terms of the will, noting the named guardians of any minor children, the provisions relating to the payment of taxes and expenses of the estate, and any provisions that distribute estate property.
  4. Review the guidelines, rules, and regulations of an executor vs. trustee according to the California probate court.
  5. Understand the differences in your fiduciary obligations as an executor vs. trustee.

Responsibilities of an executor and a trustee are numerous and in some cases may vary. If you are named as both under your loved ones’ estate documents, it is therefore vital that you understand the tasks that lay ahead. Our article, Administering an Estate in California: 10 Important Tasks, provides additional information about the administration process. For guidance administering the probate estate and trust of your loved one, contact an experienced San Diego probate court lawyer today. Call our toll-free number at (888) 443-6590 for a consultation.

Scott Grossman

Scott Grossman


The Grossman Law Firm, APC · 525 B Street, Suite 1500, San Diego, CA 92101 · (951) 523-8307