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If you have been asked to be the executor of a family member or close friend’s estate after they die, you might agree without really knowing what the job entails. Many people have done so, to their lasting regret.

Being the executor of an estate is a big responsibility; before you take on the task, ask these questions:

Do you have the time? Depending on the size of the estate, it can take anywhere from a year to several years to settle. During that time, you will be responsible for administering all the assets, filing the proper paperwork with the court and the IRS and dealing with beneficiaries.

Do you have the knowledge? If you are not financially minded, you might want to decline, since an executor is responsible for an accurate accounting of estate assets and attention to detail is a must. Running an estate can be similar to running a small business; if you don’t have good management skills, you should pass.

Can you ask some tough questions? Before agreeing to be an executor, you should ask the person some detailed questions about their financial condition – including about their assets and their debts – as well as their family dynamics. If the thought of doing this makes you squirm, you should reconsider agreeing to serve.

The California probate code imposes many duties on an executor; if you have agreed to serve, you should consult with a probate attorney, who can guide you through this complicated process.

The Flanigan Law Group provides Southern California residents with personal attention for estate planning, administration and litigation legal services. When disputes between families, arise, they are very successful in resolving legal estate issues quickly and efficiently while preserving financial and emotional resources. Contact the Flanigan Law Group at 949-450-0041.