Debunking Four Common Myths About Executors
An executor is a person nominated in a Will to administer the decedent’s estate. Usually, the specific work that will go into serving as an executor depends on several factors. However, the following are some of the typical duties of the executor of a California estate;
- Finding all the estate assets
- Taking care of the estate assets
- Valuating the estate assets
- Paying expenses
- Paying taxes
- Paying debts
- Notifying government agencies and banks of the testator’s passing
- Locating beneficiaries and keeping them informed on the status of the estate and the administration
- Distributing assets to beneficiaries
The above are probably things you already know about executors. But there are many more things you likely do not know about executors. Or perhaps, there are things you think you know about executors when the truth is that the information you have is false. Many myths abound about executors, and it should not shock you that some of the things you know about executors are actually fallacies.
As probate attorneys, it is our duty to ensure that you know the facts. That is why, in this article, we debunk four of the most common myths about executors.
Myth #1: An Executor Can Be Removed at Any time and for Any Reason
Executors can be removed in California. However, it is not true that they can be removed anytime and for any reason. California State Probate Code Section 8502 outlines the reasons a California executor may be removed from office. For example, an executor may be removed from office if they are incapable of properly executing their duties or have committed fraud on the estate.
Myth #2: There Cannot Be More Than One Executor
This myth probably exists because many people only name one person as executor in their Wills. The truth is that more than one executor can be appointed. If someone is appointed as a co-executor, they need to remember that they are just as responsible as the executor. A co-executor must adhere to the legal duty of handling the decedent’s estate in accordance with the state’s law. For example, a co-executor needs to sign the petition and other paperwork. If a co-executor behaves inappropriately, the other executor can report them to probate court.
Myth #3: An Executor Cannot Be a Beneficiary Under a Will
The executor can also be a beneficiary. In fact, often, the executor of a Will is also a beneficiary under the Will. For example, most parents select their children as executors, and children are usually beneficiaries in their parent’s Wills.
Myth #4: The Power of Attorney Is Automatically the Executor
Usually, upon the date of the principal’s death (the principal being the person who created the Power of Attorney), any Power of Attorney is immediately terminated. If a Power of Attorney is terminated upon the principal’s death and someone continues using a Power of Attorney, they can face serious consequences for their actions. And just because you have been someone’s Power of Attorney does not automatically mean they named you in their Will as executor.
Contact The Probate Guy for Legal Help
If you need help with any probate-related matter, contact the dedicated California probate attorney, Robert L. Cohen – The Probate Guy – today to schedule a telephonic consultation.