When someone dies in Texas, their estate must go through a legal process called “probate.” This process is overseen by an executor, who is appointed by the deceased person’s will or by the court. The executor has a number of duties and responsibilities.
Filing the deceased person’s will with the probate court
The executor must file the will with the probate court in the county where the deceased person lived. This involves submitting the original will along with a petition to open probate. If the deceased person did not have a will, the executor must petition the court to open probate and begin the estate administration process.
Notifying creditors and beneficiaries
The executor usually does this by sending a notice to each party that includes information about the estate and how to file a claim against it. This notice helps protect the estate from creditors who might otherwise try to collect money that the deceased person owed them.
Taking inventory of assets
The executor must make a list of all the estate’s assets including real estate, personal property, bank accounts, investments and life insurance policies. This inventory is used to determine the value of the estate for tax purposes.
Paying estate debts and taxes
The executor is responsible for paying the deceased person’s debts as well as any estate taxes owed. To do this, they will need to open a bank account in the estate’s name and use it to pay bills and make tax payments.
Distributing estate assets to beneficiaries
After the debts and taxes get paid, the executor can distribute the remaining assets to the beneficiaries named in the will. If there is no will, the estate will get distributed according to state law.
The role of an executor during probate can be complex, but it is important to make sure that the estate gets handled correctly. If you have been named as an executor, it is a good idea to take your time to learn about the process to make sure that you are up to the task.