Some of the common probate questions I receive come from or pertain to out-of-state executors or administrators. In most cases, it is perfectly fine to have an out-of-state family member or other individual act as the personal representative (executor/administrator). However, there are specific criteria appointees must meet to qualify in California probate court: the individual must be a United States citizen over 18 years of age and cannot have any felony convictions on his or her record.
If you have questions regarding your status as a personal representative residing outside California, I encourage you to contact me. I am an experienced probate attorney. I can provide you with answers to all your probate-related questions.
Understand The Difference Between The Administrator Of An Estate And An Executor By Speaking With A Probate Lawyer
For many people, the probate process can be quite confusing. Terms like "executor," "administrator" and "personal representative" are thrown around with little clarification regarding the responsibilities of the role.
A simple explanation of each term is listed below:
- Executor: If you are the executor, you have been named in the will as the individual responsible for handling the estate.
- Administrator: If you are named the administrator, you are responsible for the estate if the decedent dies without a will.
- Personal representative: This term has become increasingly common as a substitute for either term: executor or administrator.
When you work with me, I will make sure you have a clear, comprehensive understanding of the probate process in California, how it applies to out-of-state or foreign wills and representatives, and all other issues pertaining to your family's situation.
Bonding Issues And California Probate Law
Most counties in California require the out-of-state personal representative to be bonded. The terms "probate bond" and "fiduciary bond" are interchangeable terms that refer to the numerous court bond types required when someone is appointed to act on behalf of another.
When it comes to bonding issues, many representatives and beneficiaries have questions regarding waiving the bond. If the will includes a waiver of the bond requirement, the probate court may or may not comply with the wishes of the decedent. If the personal representative lives outside California, the court may overrule the wishes of the decedent and require a surety bond.
In short, a surety bond is designed to protect the decedent's estate from illegal acts such as fraud. A personal representative maintains a significant amount of control over an estate, including: having the estate appraised, disbursing assets, inventorying assets, paying off debts and numerous other responsibilities. If a personal representative acts inappropriately, the beneficiaries and other parties are protected by the surety bond.
Contact Sweeney Probate Law For Answers To Your Out-Of-State Probate Questions
To voice questions and concerns regarding probate in California, contact me, William Sweeney, by calling 800-575-9610 or locally at 760-989-4820. You can also reach me via email by completing an online contact form. Whether your probate matter is in Riverside County or elsewhere, I am available to meet in person, over the phone, via Skype or another medium that you are comfortable with.