When someone dies in Texas, his or her estate goes through a legal process called probate. This process is necessary to ensure that the deceased’s property and finances are distributed in accordance with his or her will, or, if the individual didn’t have a will, in accordance with state law. The role of the executor in this process is critical.
Who is an executor?
The person or institution appointed by the deceased in his or her will to manage all his or her assets, such as real estate, bank accounts and stocks, is called the executor. This person also must pay any debts that the deceased may owe.
The executor must pay all estate taxes and keep track of the flow of money until it is distributed per state law or a will. If the executor fails to distribute assets correctly, he or she can be held personally liable, so this person must take the role seriously.
What is the role of the executor during probate?
The executor is responsible for initiating the probate process and making sure that it proceeds smoothly. The probate process entails filing the will with the court, notifying creditors and beneficiaries of the death, distributing assets, and paying any debts or taxes owed. The executor is also responsible for keeping track of the estate and making sure that all taxes are paid on time.
If someone contests the will, the executor has to make sure that all issues are resolved before distributing assets. He or she also needs to inform beneficiaries and creditors if there is a delay in resolving any disputes.
What happens when someone dies without a will?
When someone dies without leaving behind a valid will, the court must appoint an estate administrator. This person will be responsible for distributing the assets per state law, which may not be what the deceased wanted.
Anyone who is appointed as the executor of an estate should familiarize him or herself with the role and what’s expected of him or her. Being incompetent or negligent in carrying out an executor’s duties can have serious consequences.