What Are Your Responsibilities as Administrator Under California Probate?
If you are about to be appointed to act as the administrator of an estate under California probate, you may be asking yourself: What are my responsibilities as administrator? Will I be up to the job?
The job is likely to be far more tedious than glamorous or rewarding. Furthermore, it does not require any special qualifications or training. Being trustworthy and organized is the biggest responsibility.
Your organization is crucial for making your responsibilities easier. Consequently, understanding the decedent’s affairs will be a gradual process. If after a couple of weeks there is still confusion, don’t be discouraged. The first thing you need is a method to classify the information.
Classifying the Information
File all the collected information in separate folders by category, such as:
- Unpaid bills
- Copies of income tax returns
- Official documents, like the will and death certificate
- Insurance policies
- Real estate information
- Bank, credit card, and brokerage accounts
- Business information
Hence, you may want to consult a probate checklist that will help you organize your filing system.
As you progress in the probate process, you will open new folders reflecting the various steps, for example: Probate Bond, Creditor Notification, Value Appraisal, Inventory, or Distribution.
The Administrator’s Fiduciary Duty
The most important duty of the administrator is to protect the estate and to manage the assets in the best interests of all those involved in the estate, including creditors and taxing authorities, until the estate is properly distributed among the rightful heirs. The administrator is not required by law to be an expert in financial or asset management, but there is a specific requirement that the administrator be honest, impartial, and diligent. This is called the fiduciary duty, which is a duty to act with scrupulous good faith and candor.
Administrators that breach fiduciary duty have legal consequences.
Talk to San Diego probate attorney Scott Grossman about your situation and any questions you may have. Call us at (888) 443-6590 for a free 30 minute phone consultation. Also check out our free book and DVD my clicking here.