When drafting a will in Texas, appointing an executor is an important task requiring careful thought. If you do not appoint an executor, the court may appoint someone to oversee your estate. However, choosing the right executor in advance can help ensure your wishes are followed when the time comes to distribute the estate.
Once a will comes to probate, the court must officially appoint the named executor before he or she can begin carrying out legal duties. In most cases, unless challenged, this appointment tends to be routine.
An executor's obligations
Under Texas law, the executor takes on a variety of administrative tasks to ensure the distribution proceeds smoothly. These usually include notifying beneficiaries and creditors, inventorying the estate, dealing with creditors' claims, taking care of any taxes due on the estate, deciding what to do with property not disposed of through the will or the law, and distributing assets to beneficiaries.
This can be a difficult position that needs both a high level of organization and a good understanding of the deceased's wishes. When you select an executor, consider his or her physical and mental stamina. Is this someone who can keep a cool head in a time of loss and while dealing with potential conflicts? Depending on how you intend to distribute your estate, your executor may have to deal with challenges to the will, heightened emotions and maybe even accusations of misconduct.
Successfully managing the estate means keeping track of paperwork and deadlines. An executor who neglects to pay a creditor on time or loses sight of an asset's management may end up facing legal problems.
While the executor has a legal duty to strictly comply with the terms of the will no matter any personal feelings, you will make it easier to comply with your wishes if you select someone who will not have deep-seated objections to your plan.
Getting legal advice
Every estate plan is different. A knowledgeable Texas attorney can help you choose the best options for your individual circumstances and address your concerns.