Must I take on the duties of an executor if I don’t want to?

UPDATED: May 29, 2014

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Must I take on the duties of an executor if I don’t want to?

My father passed away 2 years ago and left my brother executor. My dad had a Will that gave his 3rd wife the house, all its assets, all of her funds in a prenup, plus he agreed to give keep up a 100k life insurance policy (he cancelled secretly a year after they married without her knowledge). My brother died recently and my father’s attorney has unpaid bills and the estate is still not closed. My father put in his Will that I am the next in line as executor. What are my legal rights? My father’s attorney has unpaid bills. Are my father’s children responsible for the debt? I did not inherit anything from his estate and do not wish to be responsible for it. We were not close.

Asked on May 29, 2014 under Estate Planning, California


S.L,. Member, California Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 8 years ago | Contributor

You can decline being appointed executor.  If your father's Will does not provide for another executor to be appointed, the court will appoint an executor.

Your father's children are not liable for your father's debts.  If there are insufficient assets in the estate to pay the debts, the creditors won't be able to collect.

IMPORTANT NOTICE: The Answer(s) provided above are for general information only. The attorney providing the answer was not serving as the attorney for the person submitting the question or in any attorney-client relationship with such person. Laws may vary from state to state, and sometimes change. Tiny variations in the facts, or a fact not set forth in a question, often can change a legal outcome or an attorney's conclusion. Although has verified the attorney was admitted to practice law in at least one jurisdiction, he or she may not be authorized to practice law in the jurisdiction referred to in the question, nor is he or she necessarily experienced in the area of the law involved. Unlike the information in the Answer(s) above, upon which you should NOT rely, for personal advice you can rely upon we suggest you retain an attorney to represent you.

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