Settling an Estate in California – Administrator Responsibilities

Settling an estate in California includes paying state and federal income taxes.

Settling an estate in California can be a long and involved process. The person appointed as the executive or the administrator through the estate plan, the will, or named by the probate court has a lot of responsibilities they must fulfill. The State of California has laws on how settling an estate must be done. In this post, we’re going to explain some of the basic responsibilities.

Related: Naming an Executor in California

Inventorying the Assets

One of the first basic responsibilities involved in settling an estate in California is creating (or verifying) an inventory of the assets. The assets within the estate are important for more than just distributing shares to the heirs. Some of the assets may need to be valuated by a professional. Before assets can be distributed to heirs, the administrator has several other important tasks that must first be completed.

Related: 5 Things You Should Know about Selling a Home in Probate

Settling an Estate in California Includes Handling Debts and Taxes

Assets may be sold if necessary to satisfy any valid debts that belonged to the decedent. After the probate matter is filed, the administrator or executor must publish a notice of the death. They must also inform creditors of the death. The creditors are given a certain amount of time to file a claim against the estate. The administrator reviews the claims and pays the ones that are valid.

The administrator is also responsible for ensuring that federal and state income taxes are prepared and paid. California does not have an inheritance tax or a death tax.

Related: How to Write a California Probate Notice

Completing a Small Estate Affidavit, If Necessary

In California, settling a small estate (worth $150,000 or less) doesn’t have to go through the entire probate process. Instead, the executor can complete a small estate affidavit. In addition to the estate being valued at $150,000 or less, the value of real property that is part of the estate must be worth no more than $50,000.

Notifying Heirs and Potential Heirs

Regardless of whether the estate includes a trust, the administrator is required to notify the heirs and potential heirs of the death. They are entitled to attend the probate proceedings. They have the right to contest the will or other documents. If there is a trust involved, the heirs or potential heirs may have up to six months to challenge the trust. Until the end of the contest period, no distributions may be made.

Are You an Heir to a California Estate?

If you’re an heir to a California estate, ProbateSimple may be able to help you access your inheritance faster. To learn more about our services, including whether we can help you, click here to answer a few simple questions.

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