California residents who are being proactive about their estate planning and wanting to create or update their will may want to give careful consideration to who they will select to be the executor and even the backup executor of their estate. It might seem logical for one spouse to name the other or for a surviving spouse to name an adult child who happens to live near them but these may not necessarily be the best choices. It is very important that the person selected to be the executor actually be capable of carrying out all of the tasks involved in the job.
As explained by New York Life, there are many details that must be managed when acting as the executor of an estate. These involve things like getting current appraisals on assets, identifying all creditors and paying any outstanding bills owed, identifying and collecting any remaining income owed to the deceased person's estate, filing tax returns and more.
U.S. News and World Report highlights the sometimes challenging nature of working with beneficiaries as an estate's executor. If a particular beneficiary is not happy with the terms of the will and wishes to contest the will or push back, the executor needs to be someone strong enough to stand their ground and follow the terms of the will as identified by the deceased person and validated by the probate court.
An executor has a fiduciary responsibility that may leave them liable for any debts owed if the estate was not properly managed such as if assets were distributed before bills were paid.