Mary Randolph


Mary Randolph earned her law degree from the Boalt Hall School of Law at the University of California, Berkeley. She is the author of The Executor's Guide: Settling a Loved One's Estate or Trust8 Ways to Avoid Probate, and other books about law for nonlawyers. She has been a guest on The Today Show and has been interviewed by many publications, including the Wall Street Journal, the Los Angeles Times, the San Francisco Chronicle, and more.

Articles By Mary Randolph

Estimating the Value of Inherited Real Estate
When passing along real estate, the executor must value the property appropriately.
Handling Bank Account Funds in an Estate
What happens to cash accounts that belonged to the deceased person? It depends on how the accounts were held.
The Witness Requirement to Execute a Will
A will typically must be properly witnessed to be valid.
I'm the Executor—Do I Need to Hire a Lawyer?
Sometimes executors are able to wrap up an estate themselves, without hiring a probate lawyer.
Filing the Will With the Probate Court
If there's a will, you can't start a probate case until you file it with the court.
Payment for Serving as Trustee
Being a trustee can involve a lot of work. Depending on the type of trust—living trust vs. long-term trust—there may be ongoing responsibility, so compensation is usually part of the deal.
Do I Receive Payment for Serving as Executor?
Being a conscientious executor takes a lot of time and effort. Should you get paid for taking on the job? State law typically provides for payment of the executor.
Claiming Money From a Payable-on-Death Bank Account
When the owner of a payable-on-death account dies, the POD beneficiary can simply claim the money from the bank.
What If the Beneficiary of a Will Has Died?
The will may provide instructions for what happens if a beneficiary predeceases the will-maker, but if it doesn't, state law determines who inherits.
What Assets Must Go Through Probate?
Lots of assets, including real estate and retirement accounts, may not need to go through probate.