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Biddle Law Estate Planning Blog

Sunday, May 21, 2017

Duties and Responsibilities of a Probate Administrator

When you create a will, you name an executor to take care of your estate after your pass. This person will be responsible for not only carrying out your wishes as you have laid them out in your will, but he or she is also responsible for settling your debts as well. The duties of an executor or administrator can be somewhat daunting, so it is important to name someone whom you think will be up to the task.

Knowing what this person will do and how they may go about doing it can help you decide who should be your executor. As a potential or acting executor, knowing the basics of your role can go a long way toward completing your duties efficiently and in a way that will satisfy the beneficiaries. If you need help through the probate administration process, Biddle Law can help.

Being Named as the Executor or Administrator

When someone names you in their will as their executor you automatically assume the role as set out in the will. However, if there is no will or an executor is not named, then the Court will appoint an administrator or personal representative to carry out the tasks of an executor. As such, the duties of both an executor and an administrator are the same; the only difference is how the individual acquires his or her role.

The Duties of an Executor or Administrator

  1. Inventory and Appraisal

    The first task in the administration process is to determine what the decedent owns. Taking an inventory of all of the assets will allow the executor or administrator to distribute property efficiently.

    In many situations, you will need to have certain items appraised so that you have an idea of their value. This is particularly important if the will calls for a liquidation of the assets to distribute estate funds instead of gifting specific property. As a personal representative, you will need to file an inventory and appraisal, often within just a few months of the decedent’s passing. A probate administration attorney can help you through this information gathering and investigation process.
  2. Managing Assets Effectively

    Until the estate has made its way completely through the probate process, the executor or administrator is in charge of maintaining the assets in the estate. That could mean keeping up with storage costs, paying the mortgage, or even making investment decisions. For some estates, maintenance of the property alone can be a huge responsibility.

    The executor or administrator has the duty to make prudent investments, which means that he or she should not take any action that may squander the property in the estate.
  3. Recordkeeping and Reporting

    Careful tracking of assets is another important duty of the executor or administrator. The Court reviews the accounting, so accurate and diligent recordkeeping is vital. It is also important that estate assets not be commingled with personal assets as well.

Having an experienced attorney help you through the administration process can ensure that you are performing all of your duties as required. A lawyer can also help you prepare the documents you need and report to the court as well. Find out more by calling our office at 650-560-7655 for San Mateo, CA or 650-727-6276 for Belmont, CA. 


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Biddle Law is located in San Mateo and Belmont and services San Mateo County including San Carlos, Burlingame and Foster City.



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