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The role of an executor: Are you a candidate?

On Behalf of | Dec 16, 2019 | Estate Administration |

Your friend has come to you and said that he would like to name you as the executor of his Texas estate. This sounds like a big deal, and you feel flattered, but is it a role you should accept?

Read on for details about what your duties will be if you agree.

Protect the property of the deceased

According to Kiplinger, until it is time to distribute assets at the end of the probate process, you must ensure that they are secure. The house, safe deposit boxes, medications, mail and other property could be subject to plundering by friends and family members who have access to them, so it is a good idea to gather keys and change locks wherever possible.

Find the will

This could be as simple as speaking to the attorney of the deceased, or it could involve an extensive search through file cabinets and desk drawers. If it is kept in a safe deposit box, you will need to get a court order to gain access to it. You cannot start the probate process without the original will, though, so the search must begin immediately.

Administer the estate

You must inventory all the assets and liabilities of the estate, collect the assets, sell property, and pay the debts and taxes of the estate. These tasks may seem straightforward, and if the deceased has everything well-organized, they could be. However, locating all the assets and debts may involve extensive paperwork, and you may even need to hire a forensic accountant or other professional to help uncover them. Likewise, selling the home is likely to involve hiring a real estate agent and others to take care of this process.

Keep a record of expenses

From filing the will for probate admission to fees from various professionals, you may find yourself paying considerable expenses out of your own pocket. However, ultimately, the responsibility for these costs rests with the estate, so keep track of them so you can be reimbursed out of the estate at the end of the process. You will also receive a commission for fulfilling your duties.

Distribute assets to the beneficiaries

Unless there are disputes or will contests, the instructions the deceased left should make this task relatively simple. Because there are so many variables in the probate process, though, this general information about executor duties should not be interpreted as legal advice.