What Are the Specific Duties of the Estate Representative?
Under California probate law, if you have been appointed as the estate’s representative, either as the executor or as the administrator, you have your work cut out for you. You must take possession of the decedent’s property and keep it safe until the probate process is over. This means until all the obligations of the estate have been met, and the balance of the assets has been properly distributed. The following contains a list of the specific duties of the estate representative:
Duties of the Estate Representative
- First of all, determine the decedent’s legal residence
- Locate the will, if any, and make copies
- Then, Order certified copies of the death certificate
- Determine who will be the heirs and beneficiaries, and collect their contact coordinates
- Collect insurance proceeds, Social Security, and other benefits
- Make the decedent’s final income tax returns
- Assemble and list assets, such as bank accounts, accounts receivable, stocks and bonds, business interests, real estate, antiques, jewelry, collectibles, other personal assets, and life insurance
- Classify each item of property as a community, separate, or in joint tenancy
- Get the value of each non-monetary asset appraised
- List the unpaid debts and obligations of the decedent. This includes funeral and last illness expenses, income, taxes, and liens on real or personal property. Also include any outstanding personal and credit card debts and legal, court, and administration fees
- Determine priority of debts, and pay them in order of priority as estate funds become available
- Furthermore, prepare and file US estate tax returns if required
- Finally, determine a method of transferring assets to heirs and beneficiaries
The above list only shows what the personal representative must do to conduct his or her business properly and respect the required fiduciary duty. It is highly recommended he or she hires a probate counselor who will not only take over a great part of the burden but will make sure no time is lost and no mistakes are made that could harm the estate or the personal representative.
What Else Should I Do?
Talk to probate attorney Scott Grossman about what your situation is and any questions you might have about the duties of an estate representative. Contact us, we would love to hear from you to further assist you.