When a person dies, their estate must go through probate, a legal process that ensures their debts are paid, and their belongings are distributed according to their will.
If your parent named you as the executor in their will, then they entrust you with the responsibility of overseeing the probate process.
What are the duties of an executor?
In Texas, the duties of the executor include:
- Notifying the will’s beneficiaries
- Securing the deceased’s assets
- Making an inventory of those assets
- Notifying creditors and paying any valid debts
- Filing the appropriate papers with the probate court
- Filing a final tax return
- Distributing the remaining assets as outlined in the will
While this can be a rewarding experience, it can also be very challenging. Here are some of the most common problems faced by executors:
- You are dealing with your own emotions. It is important to take care of yourself emotionally to be clear-headed and efficient in your role.
- Organizing paperwork can be daunting, especially if the deceased was not well-organized. The entire probate process can be lengthy and time-consuming even when everything is in order.
- There may be disagreements among beneficiaries. If beneficiaries fight, it can delay the probate process and cause considerable stress for all involved. This can be particularly true if the other beneficiaries are your siblings and close relatives since the dispute can create allegations of favoritism and create family rifts that never heal.
If you have been named executor of an estate, it is essential to seek legal guidance to help you understand your rights and responsibilities from the very start. That’s also the best way to make sure the probate process goes smoothly.