In my Keeping it Simple Series I break down complicated legal terms and theories in Probate and Estate Planning so that they are easily understood.
Are you attempting a DIY Probate? There are a few key terms you should know. One important one is IAEA authority - Independent Administration of Estates Act. The California Probate Code (PrC. 10450 et seq.) allows a petitioning party to request Full or Limited authority to act as personal representative (Executor - Will or Administrator - no Will). This authority allows the personal representative to administer the decedent's estate without court supervision, with certain exceptions (PrC. 10500). In other words, with Full IAEA authority, the personal representative does not have to ask the court permission for every little thing he/she does in the administration process. Without IAEA authority, the personal representative must ask the court permission before taking any action - like selling decedent's home or stocks, for example.
A few things to remember. If requesting IAEA authority, the court will require the personal representative post bond (PrC. 10453). Bond protects the estate assets from any potential wrong-doing by the personal representative, ensuring creditors and heirs receive their money. There are ways to waive bond, if all heirs file a waiver. We will cover bond in another post.
Even with IAEA authority, the California Probate Code still requires certain actions be taken by the personal representative. Review Probate Codes 10510 - 10520; 10530 - 10538 and 10550 - 10564. It is a lot to read, but understanding these codes will ensure your administration does not violate the law and cause unnecessary delay.
Author: Duisters Law - Estate Planning Attorneys