What is an Executor for Estate Planning in California

With the recent passing of O.J. Simpson, the executor of his estate has been in the news. This article will explain some basics about what an executor is and what duties they perform, with examples from the O.J. Simpson estate. (Note: O.J.’s will was filed in Nevada, but for the basic principles relating to executors, this article does not differentiate between California and Nevada law.)

What is the definition of an executor?

  • An executor is a person named in a Will and appointed by the court to carry out the dead person’s wishes. The executor is also called the personal representative of the estate.

Who is the executor in the O.J. Simpson case?

  • J. Simpson’s final will was filed in Nevada, following his death after a battle with cancer.
  • Simpson’s longtime Las Vegas attorney Malcolm LaVergne was named as Simpson’s personal representative and executor of the will and testament, according to court records.
  • His property was placed in The Orenthal Simpson Revocable Living Trust.

One of the general duties of an executor is to handle creditor claims.

What debts are at issue with the O.J. Simpson case and how are they being managed?

  • LaVergne, the executor in the Simpson case, addressed the $33.5 million civil judgment awarded to the families of Simpson’s ex-wife, Nicole Brown Simpson and her friend Ronald Goldman by a California jury in 1997. He was sued by their families for wrongful death and found liable by a civil jury, which puts them in the position of creditors to Simpson’s estate.
  • LaVergne said that the families would be put in the “pecking order” of creditors behind the IRS.
  • In a phone interview, he said he would fight any payout from the estate to the Golman family.
  • As per the CNN article, he told reporters: “It’s my hope that the Goldmans get zero, nothing,” LaVergne told the outlet. “Them specifically. And I will do everything in my capacity as the executor or personal representative to try and ensure that they get nothing,” he said.
  • In a follow up interview he backtracked, saying that perhaps he had been too harsh against the Goldmans: “Now that I understand my role as the executor and the personal representative, it’s time to tone down the rhetoric and really get down to what my role is as a personal representative.”
    • See https://www.yahoo.com/news/o-j-simpson-cremated-estate-192531874.html

What other executor-related issues that have arisen in the O.J. Simpson case?

  • According to an NBC News article, republished at yahoo.com, O.J.’s executor has made statements about a few other estate matters.
  • LaVergne has been contacted by scientists requesting access to O.J.’s brain to study CTE, which is chronic traumatic encephalopathy, a degenerative brain disease that has been studied in former football players.
  • LaVergne is refusing these requests and O.J. will be cremated.
  • Simpson’s will asked for money to be retained to create a suitable monument at his gravesite, so this will be a responsibility for his executor.
  • His will also indicated that his wishes were that there should be no litigation or dispute, and any beneficiary or heir who did not follow that dictate would receive only $1.00 in lieu of any other interest to which they were due.

Contact an Experienced Estate Planning Attorney

At the Law Office of David Knecht, we have extensive experience in all aspects of family law and can help you complete your own estate plan or assist you with properly administering the estate of a loved one who has passed. Contact us today at 707-451-4502.