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Are you up for the job of a California estate executor?

The word "executor" sounds like a title that could enhance a resume. In fact, a person who can handle the responsibilities of a California executor is probably well qualified for many jobs. Estate administrators known as fiduciaries have immense responsibility to a decedent, beneficiaries and probate court.

The executor of a simple estate may have little to do compared to a fiduciary who is accountable for complex assets and liabilities. Copious financial and legal knowledge or advice, time and effort are required when estates are elaborate.

Civil laws oversee the duties of executors. An executor is charged with carrying out a decedent's wishes while treating beneficiaries fairly. Estate administration errors constitute a breach of duty that is subject to investigation and legal action.

What do executors do? The first task involves tallying assets, a job that is made easier or harder depending on instructions - or lack of them -- within a decedent's estate plan. Estate settlement also involves meeting court deadlines and resolving debts, filing taxes and distribution of property.

Executors may be involved in the settlement of a complex estate for several months, even years. The work can include pay, although family members who assume a fiduciary position often forego the fee.

Becoming an executor is a privilege that also demands a financial skill set. Fiduciaries in over their heads frequently depend on the advice of estate planning professionals.

When is it a good idea to turn down an executor request? The answer varies according to personal tolerance and an estate's complexity. Consider whether you are capable of or willing to delve deeply into a decedent's real estate holdings, business assets or family disputes.

Estate planning attorneys know that some executors are completely competent when it comes to crunching numbers and meeting legal deadlines. Regrettably, some fiduciaries fall short when it comes to finding diplomatic and court-approved solutions for unhappy heirs and beneficiaries.

Source:, "Serving as executor is no easy task" Pamela Yip, Jun. 02, 2013

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