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California Probate, Will & Trust Lawyer > Blog > Probate > Do You Know You Have These Responsibilities To Beneficiaries As An Executor?

Do You Know You Have These Responsibilities To Beneficiaries As An Executor?


If someone recently died and you found out they named you as the executor of their Will, you should know you have a huge responsibility ahead of you. As the executor of a deceased person’s Will, you are obligated to act in the estate’s best interest. The law prohibits you from acting selfishly in a manner that is detrimental to the estate.

As part of your duty to act in the best interest of the decedent’s estate, you have a number of responsibilities to the beneficiaries of the Will. Below are some notable responsibilities executors of estates have to beneficiaries.

Notifying Beneficiaries

As executor, this is perhaps your biggest responsibility to beneficiaries. You are required to contact the beneficiaries of the decedent’s Will and notify them that they are beneficiaries. Beneficiaries must be informed about their status as beneficiaries so they can contest the Will if they find a reason to do so.

So, how should you inform beneficiaries about their status as beneficiaries? It is best that you send notices to beneficiaries in writing to reduce confusion and ambiguity.

Providing Information

As the executor, you are required to share information with the beneficiaries of the decedent’s estate. The beneficiaries are entitled to know about the probate process. For example, beneficiaries have the right to know about estate assets and estate debts.

Timely Asset Distribution

This is another huge responsibility you have to beneficiaries as the executor of the decedent’s estate. Different states have different definitions of “timely distribution,” so you must understand what California law says. In California, the law says an executor must complete probate within a year from the appointment date. If an executor files a federal estate tax, they have 18 months to complete probate. Usually, it’s in the best interest of everyone, including the executor, to distribute assets promptly.

What Executors Are Not Obligated To Do

As already mentioned, as the executor of a decedent’s estate, you have the responsibility to notify beneficiaries about their status as beneficiaries. You have an obligation to provide beneficiaries with the necessary information. You are also required to move things along at a reasonable pace. However, you are not required to give beneficiaries their inheritance immediately after you notify them of their status as beneficiaries. Depending on several things, it can take up to several months after you inform a beneficiary about their status as a beneficiary for them to receive their inheritance.

In conclusion, it is crucial to note that the court does not give certain rights to beneficiaries to make executors’ work more difficult. Instead, the court grants certain rights to beneficiaries to protect them and ensure executors do their job effectively.

Contact The Probate Guy for Legal Help

If you’ve been named executor in a deceased person’s Will, it is a good idea for you to retain a probate attorney. An attorney can help you understand your duties and responsibilities and probate the estate.

If you’re ready to hire a probate attorney, contact the skilled and dedicated California probate attorney, Robert L. Cohen – The Probate Guy – today to schedule a free telephonic consultation.


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I love being a probate attorney. I love helping people through a very difficult time in their lives with the probate process. My practice focuses solely on probate matters. My job is to complete the probate process as efficiently and painlessly for my clients as possible. I have found that paying the upfront costs of probate adds unneeded stress, so I will advance all of the fees and costs for the probate. No money is required to complete the probate. I will be reimbursed at the end of the case when you receive your inheritance. Call me NOW to discuss your case for free.

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