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By: Scott Grossman on October 26th, 2017

Understanding the Role of the Estate Administrator

All too often, people fail to execute a valid California will prior to their passing. As a result, the loved ones of the deceased must involve the court to have an administrator appointed to oversee the estate. Unless all property is held jointly, in trust, or has named beneficiaries, an appointment of an administrator is necessary. Only the beneficiary can access the deceased’s property and have the appropriate authority to distribute assets of the estate. An experienced Riverside trust lawyer can assist throughout this process.

What are the characteristics of the role of a California estate administrator?

  • Even if the deceased passed leaving a valid will, he or she may have named someone who cannot or will not serve as an executor. Under those circumstances,the court has to appoint an administrator regardless of the existence of a will.
  • At times, there is a will but no executor is able or willing to serve. Thus, the court will look to appoint an administrator.
  • The nearest living relatives of the deceased have the first right to serve as administrator of the deceased’s estate.
  • The administrator has the same duties and responsibilities as an executor for administering the estate.
  • The administrator must hold, manage, and distribute the property of the estate. This must be in accordance with the will or with California intestacy laws.
  • An administrator must go through a formal appointment process involving the probate court. In the event of an emergency, the court can appoint a special administrator within twenty-four hours. Examples of such emergencies include instances where no one has access to the bank accounts of the decedent and bills, pay roll, or other expenses need to be paid. In this case, the court can make an exception to the formal process.

Despite the complexities of California probate law, the process is relatively easy to navigate when guided by an experienced Southern California trust lawyer. To learn more, callThe Grossman Law Firm toll free at (888) 443-6590 or click here to contact us.