My brother died in California and named me as Executor in his Will. I don’t live in California. Can I be the Executor?by William J. Sweeney on 04/14/15
(Mr. Sweeney is an attorney licensed in California. The comments below are not intended as legal advice for any specific situation and may not accurately reflect the law in other jurisdictions. There may have been changes in the law since this was written. You should always consult an attorney in your own jurisdiction.)
Yes you can. It may not be as convenient as it would be if you lived nearby, but it can be done.
In my experience, in the majority of probate proceedings the Executor never has to appear in court. Things that might require an actual appearance in court can include sale of property, or if there is a dispute with beneficiaries, or creditors. Many times they can be resolved without actually appearing in court.
Typically, some time on location is required at the time the probate proceedings are initiated since it is the Executor’s job to gather and protect the assets as well as gather information about any known creditors. Sometimes it is necessary to get a house ready to sell. Once these initial matters are addressed, further trips to California may not be necessary since your attorney should be able to handle most things my telephone, email or regular mail. It really comes down to how involved the estate is.
For your information, some courts in California may still require an out of state Executor to post an Executor’s bond even though the Will specifically waives the bond. The bond is paid for out of the estate. An experienced attorney should be able to evaluate your particular situation and provide advice on how to address the matter.
William J. Sweeney
Attorney at Law
915 Highland Pointe Dr., Ste. 250
Roseville, CA 95678