One of the most complicated tasks a grieving family will face after the death of a loved one is deciding what to do with his or her estate. This means settling remaining affairs, paying off debts, closing accounts and more. It can be complicated and difficult to officially close a Texas estate, and depending on the size of the estate and other factors, it is a process that can take anywhere from a few months to years to complete. A family will benefit from knowing exactly what to expect from the estate administration process.
The executor of an estate is the individual appointed to oversee the estate administration process. This person will bear the responsibility of navigating probate and meeting other requirements, including making payments on behalf of the estate and following instructions in the will. The designation of executor is either made by the decedent in his or her will, or it is an appointment made by the probate court.
Steps to handling estate affairs
Duties of the executor include following the wishes of the deceased, maintaining the estate and distributing assets to heirs. This is not always an easy process, and it can be an immense responsibility to carry this out. Executors will have the responsibility of opening the estate by first filing the death certificate and will with the probate court. While the probate process is underway, the executor will protect the estate, secure assets, locate assets and ensure the accurate value of all assets. Other steps in the estate administration process include:
- Notify creditors and beneficiaries of the estate
- Pay off remaining debts and file final tax returns
- Ensure assets go to the right places as instructed
Probate and other requirements associated with settling an estate are complicated legal processes, and there is significant benefit in having help and guidance at every step. This may prevent complications, reduce stress and lower the chance that a family or other party will incur unexpected costs. Before opening an estate or agreeing to the role of executor, it may be helpful to seek an understanding of the specific responsibilities associated with taking on this important role.