So, you have gone through the Texas probate process and you are now a new Executor of the Estate. How much is going to be on your plate? What comes next?
Here is what you need to know:
- The process doesn't end when you are appointed. In fact, your work is just beginning.
- You are a fiduciary. Under the law, you must act in the best interest of the estate and meet certain obligations in dealing ethically with others.
- It is your job to gather the assets of the estate. You must also gather debts, decide if the debts are legitimate and eventually pay the legitimate debts.
- You will need to see that medical bills and funeral expenses are gathered and that they are properly paid.
- Get ready to open an estate account at the bank. For that you will need an EIN number.
- You will need to see that any necessary tax returns are prepared and discover any tax liability.
- You will be responsible for distributing the bequests to the beneficiaries.
- You will be responsible for notifying some existing creditors and potential claimants about your appointment. You will need to do so in a certain way, that complies with the law.
- You may need to formally notify beneficiaries in the will about the probate case, and give other copies of documents to them.
- You will have to prepare an inventory of the estate.
- You will have to file certain documents and affidavits with the probate court, by deadlines that are set by Texas law, and by the court.
- You may have other duties under the will (such as being responsible for cremated remains, or arranging a memorial service).
- You may decide that you need further help from a lawyer.
- Many counties have guides for executors available at the courthouse, in the courtroom, or online that discuss the above in more detail. Your lawyer, if you have one, will be able to give you specific guidance and instruction.
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