Estate planning includes naming a trusted individual to serve as your estate’s personal representative. While many individuals choose a spouse or an adult child, you may require an administrator experienced in managing complex or varied financial matters. In California, your estate administrator is also known as your personal representative.
Under California’s laws, your representative must submit your will for probate after your death. As noted by the AARP, he or she also oversees the payment of your outstanding debts and taxes. You may prefer an estate administrator with whom you can comfortably share your financial secrets.
How much confidential information may I share with my representative?
Before the probate court distributes assets and property to your heirs, your representative typically settles your financial obligations. You may need to share the location of your will and a list of all your financial accounts.
If you bank online, for example, your representative needs access to your accounts. You may leave your username and password with your chosen administrator and provide instructions regarding how to update or close your accounts. Your representative may also dispose of items such as personal letters or prescriptions that you prefer your heirs not see.
How may an administrator begin the probate process?
The probate process begins with your representative ordering copies of your death certificate from the California Department of Public Health. Financial institutions, for example, generally require a copy before transferring your account’s remaining funds to a beneficiary. Your representative may need to contact creditors and lenders to settle unpaid debts from your estate’s funds.
A skilled administrator may sell your property and distribute the proceeds to your creditors and heirs. By leaving specific instructions in your will and naming your beneficiaries, a trusted individual may effectively carry out your wishes.