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Preparing for the death or incapacitation of an executor

The death of a loved one is an unfortunate but unavoidable time for families throughout California. One way people can provide for their loved ones after passing away is with a proper estate plan. And there’s almost no more vital role in someone’s estate plan than the executor.

When an executor’s duties become official

An executor helps settle a testator’s estate, which can include settling debts, ensuring beneficiaries receive inherited assets and other crucial tasks. The duties of an executor can only begin after the testator or estate’s creator passes away. So, technically, an executor dying before a testator wouldn’t affect the former’s duties. If this situation happens, and you’re the testator, you’ll need to find a replacement executor.

What happens when executors die during probate

Sometimes, the estate administration process isn’t complete until the probate process concludes. Considering that, it’s understandable to wonder what happens when executors die during probate. Probate proceedings can take months or years to wrap up, meaning an executor’s death is a possibility. If this happens, the court must appoint a new executor.

Planning ahead regarding executors

The death of an executor can be shocking for beneficiaries already dealing with a loved one’s passing. However, there is a beneficial way to prepare for the unexpected. Some people name a co-executor to serve alongside your pre-appointed executor. You can also appoint a backup executor to step in should an emergency happen.

Most people want to avoid having a court-appointed executor step in and manage their estates. This situation can also be stressful for a court-appointed executor who typically doesn’t receive much warning about their new role. If this person isn’t capable of handling your estate, disastrous results could follow.