When someone creates an estate, they will choose a personal representative who will handle the estate once they die. Being someone giving this position is a huge responsibility.
According to the Texas Constitution and Statutes, as a personal representative, your main duty is to protect and properly manage the estate.
Duty of care
Your responsibility is to manage the estate property until the heirs take over ownership. This could be a very short time or it could last for a long time. It depends on how smoothly and quickly probate occurs.
You must keep all property in good condition, which may include investing money, making repairs or doing other tasks to ensure the estate assets are well taken care of. Part of your job may also include finding heirs so when the time comes, you can pass on the assets.
Essentially, once the person dies, you take ownership of all the assets in the estate. If there are things, such as an account with a beneficiary, that will transfer upon the death, you will not have control over them. In addition, anything with joint ownership may not automatically transfer. You will become the joint owner of that property.
You will remain in possession of estate assets until the legal transfer of ownership to the heirs of the estate.
If you do something to damage an estate asset, the court can hold you liable financially. You should make decisions carefully to avoid a loss to the estate.
Your duties as a personal representative are something you must take seriously. You are liable for protecting the assets and ensuring they end up with the correct heirs.