WHAT TO DO IF YOU'RE AN EXECUTOR
It is both an honor and a large responsibility to be named an executor. Most people appoint someone they know and trust for this position. An executor is the person in charge of a deceased person's estate - his/her assets, debts, taxes, and other affairs.
Most people choose a family member or close confidant who has a solid understanding of financial operations. Though, you don't have to possess any special skills or pass any qualifications before you can serve. The most important duty of an executor is to process the wishes of the Will (if there is one) and to handle the property of the estate according to proper state law.
Furthermore, some of the activities of an Executor might include selling property, paying debts, dispersing assets to beneficiaries, creating an inventory, etc. Almost all Executors enlist the help of an experienced Probate attorney who can help him/her through the extensive legal process.
AS AN EXECUTOR, WHAT CAN I EXPECT FROM THE PROBATE PROCESS?
First, being an executor requires a high level of integrity and commitment to complete the probate process. It can be time consuming and intense. Nonetheless, your attorney can help you understand exactly what is required and when it's required, helping to simplify the process.
Some probate administrations are much more complicated than others. This depends on the complexity of the deceased person's estate. The more complex the issues, the longer and more encompassing the probate process, including your duties as the executor.
Some factors that could affect the complexity of a probate case are:
- Whether the deceased person left a Will
- Whether that Will was executed properly
- How much real property is involved
- How much personal property is involved
- How many executors were named (Is it just you?)
- Whether there is anyone contesting the process
Worried about what to do if you're an Executor?
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TOP EXECUTOR DUTIES
Executors have many different duties during the Probate process. With the help of an experienced Probate attorney most executors follow the process and succeed with ease. Check out this video showcasing attorney Coquat explaining more about the Executor duties.
What to do if you're an Executor
Examples of Executor Duties:
- Finding the Last Will and Testament (sometimes in a safety deposit box, important papers folder, or stored digitally at the county courthouse.
- Obtain the death certificate
- Consult and choose a Probate attorney you can trust to guide you through the process
- Manage the deceased's property with care until it is distributed according to the Will or Texas law.
- Pay creditors and people owed money, following the guidance of your San Antonio Probate attorney.
- Notify banks and other entities about the estate.
- Pay estate taxes, create bank accounts, and other financial duties.
RELATIONSHIP WITH YOUR ATTORNEY
Developing a great relationship with a San Antonio probate attorney is an important first step in the process. Most people experience stress, sadness, and overwhelm during Probate. This is understandable considering the difficult family circumstances. This makes choosing a great attorney even more vital. You'll want to consider an attorney's:
- Experience with Probate cases
- Testimonials of other families like yours who've had a great experience with the attorney
- The care and compassion of the entire firm (from the lead attorneys to the newest admin assistant.)
- Your instincts - do you trust this person?
How will your Probate attorney help during the probate process? You will be relying exclusively on your Probate attorney to help educate you through the process. Communication will need to happen early and often to ensure that all laws are being followed and deadlines are being met. Texas Probate laws provide a specific format in which executor activities should be accomplished. Make sure to consult your attorney before disbursing any property, paying any creditors, or opening any new accounts on behalf of the estate. You aren't officially the executor of the estate until a judge has made a ruling officially appointing you.
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