Does an Executor Need Legal Representation During Probate?
If someone named you as the executor of their will, it is common to wonder whether you need legal assistance after the testator passes away. You will need to locate the will and submit it to the probate court, after which the legal process will vary depending on the circumstances of the situation. If you have concerns or questions, never hesitate to call a probate lawyer in Pleasanton.
Understanding Your Duties
An executor has a fiduciary duty to the beneficiaries of the will. This means you must always act in the best interests of the beneficiaries and make prudent decisions that are never biased or self-serving. This can be more challenging than you may think. This fiduciary duty applies during all stages of probate, which might involve the following responsibilities for an executor:
- Notifying all beneficiaries
- Taking inventory of the estate
- Paying all debts, bills, and taxes
- Selling property if needed
- Distributing property to beneficiaries in accordance with the will
These can be complicated tasks, especially for complex estates. Many people might need assistance to ensure they fulfill all of their responsibilities while always abiding by their fiduciary duty.
Defending the Will
Sometimes, a beneficiary or someone who believes they should be a beneficiary may challenge the validity of the will in court. Will contests can become messy, as they often involve allegations of undue influence or lack of mental capacity of the testator. The executor should always call a probate lawyer if a will contest arises, as defending a will can be a complex legal matter.
Consult with an Experienced Probate Lawyer in Pleasanton Today
The Pleasanton probate attorneys at Randick, O’Dea & Tooliatos, LLP, assist and represent testators and beneficiaries during probate. Call 925.460.3700 or contact us online to discuss how we might help in your situation.