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Should I Be an Executor or Personal Representative?


When a loved one has passed away and named you as an executor of his or her will or the personal representative for his or her estate, it can be an honor to know that your loved one has entrusted you to settle his/her final affairs. However, given that the role of the executor/personal representative comes with a number of responsibilities – and that you may be serving in this role for months (or potentially longer), it is important to think carefully about whether you can fulfill this role and, consequently, whether you should accept it.

To help you make the right decision, below, we will point out some of the specific factors to consider as you decide whether to accept the position of executor/personal representative.

Here’s What to Consider with an Executorship

  • Your availability – Settling an estate can take months to years, depending on the complexity of the estate. As part of this process, an executor/personal representative will need to oversee a number of different administrative tasks. From notifying beneficiaries to dealing with creditors, insurance companies, and financial institutions, there can be a lot to do in the aftermath of a death. So, think about whether you have the time and availability to handle all of these issues – both now and in the coming months. If you are already stretched thin due to work, children, or other obligations, then your limited availability may mean that you should consider passing on the role of the executor/personal representative.
  • Your location – Do you live in the same city or state as the decedent? How easy (or difficult) would it be for you to regularly travel back to the county where the decedent lived – or to potentially relocate to this area for the next 6 to 12 months (or possibly longer)? If you live farther away and traveling back to the area where the decedent lived on a regular basis will present some hardships for you (because of the costs of traveling or for any other reason), again, you may want to think again before you agree to become an executor/personal representative.
  • Your skills – If your availability and location are not bars to becoming an executor/personal representative, then the next thing to consider is your skill set. Serving as an executor/personal representative requires organization, attention to detail, and an ability to multitask (among other things), as there will be a number of important tasks to manage simultaneously – and making mistakes with any of these responsibilities can result in personal liability for the executor/personal representative. So, if overseeing the details of an estate for months or longer may be challenging for you, again, it may be better to step aside and let someone else assume the role of the executor/personal representative.

Contact a San Fernando & Santa Clarita Estate Attorney at the Law Offices of Darrell C. Harriman

When you need help settling an estate, a trusted San Fernando & Santa Clarita estate attorney at the Law Offices of Darrell C. Harriman is here for you. For more than three decades, our San Fernando & Santa Clarita attorney has been dedicated to providing his clients with personalized, highly responsive service, as well as superior representation for their important estate and probate matters.

Contact our firm by calling (818) 892-7093 or by filling out the contact form on this page to learn more about how we can help you.

From our offices based in North Hills, we provide the highest quality legal services to our clients throughout the San Fernando Valley, Simi Valley, Santa Clarita, and the greater Los Angeles area.

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