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Estate Administration Archives

The mystery of the missing last will and testament

We hear it all too often... "The original signed will is missing. I know it was in that box. I saw it. It had been there for years!" Usually by the time a last will and testament has been determined to be missing, every possible heir to the estate is in an uproar, and the decedent's house has been turned upside down from frantic searching. Panic ensues and everyone wants to know how this is going to affect their inheritance.

Executor duties series: Paying creditors and taxes

So far in our executor duties series, we have identified the first two steps an executor of an estate should take. Those were to locate and secure all assets and to consolidate all estate funds into a newly formed estate account. That brings us to the third task of an executor, which is to notify and pay all creditors of the estate, as well as file any unfiled tax returns.

Executor duties series: Consolidating estate funds

In the second installment of our Executor Duties series, we are going to discuss consolidating estate funds. Our first post determined that the first responsibility of the executor of an estate is to locate and secure physical assets owned by a decedent. Bank accounts, retirement accounts and other sources of funds of a deceased person are considered non-physical assets. It is also an executor's duty to locate and consolidate these. However, there is a process that must be followed in order to accomplish this task.

Executor duties series: Maintenance and protection of assets

The duties of an executor of a will span far and wide. Most individuals who agree to carry out these tasks when the time comes have no idea what all will be required of them. Accordingly, we are going to break it down for you step-by-step in our new series, Executor Duties.

A step-by-step guide to the probate process

Upon a decedent's passing, a petition for probate must be drafted and filed with the probate court in the proper jurisdiction, which can generally be determined as the decedent's county of residence for the last six months of his or her life. Though each state possesses its own set of probate rules, the general process of estate administration remains universally the same.

What constitutes a valid will in the state of Texas?

There are three types of wills recognized as valid by the state of Texas, and all have two mutual requirements. The testator must be at least 18-years-old, and he or she must be deemed to have a sound mind. This means that a general, valid will is based on the wishes of a party who is operating at full mental capacity and is fully aware of and capable of making such decisions. The age requirement does not apply if the testator is legally married or if he or she is a member of the U.S. Armed Forces. However, there are a few differing requirements among other types of wills.

Legal help with probate issues and dependent administration

When a loved one dies in Texas, there are many things that a family will need to think about. Apart from the grief, there are legal factors that must be accounted for in the aftermath. Some of these can be complicated. Probate is an important part of the legal process after a loved one has died.

Late celebrity chef's beneficiaries could be up for dispute

It can be difficult for Texans - even those with significant assets and wealth - to compare themselves to famous people and their estate plans. However, important lessons can be gleaned when examining the legal issues that often surround a celebrity and their estate after death. Complicated factors often muddy the water with these individuals and it makes the distribution of assets, the organization of their wills, the determination of beneficiaries and other factors a topic of discussion. Such is the case with the late chef, television host and author, Anthony Bourdain.

What can spur a judge to modify or reform Texas wills?

A Texan who crafts a will does so to ensure that the assets and anything else he or she owns will go to the designated heirs. Regardless of the intent and the comprehensive nature of the document, legal issues can often arise with wills and other estate planning devices. In some cases, this will necessitate judicial intervention. Understanding when the law dictates that there can be judicial modification or reformation of a will is important when the legal issues are such that it must be done to make certain the document achieves its desired ends. As always, legal assistance with handling estate complexities is a must.

Probate issues, applications and necessary information in Texas

When a loved one dies in Texas, handling estate complexities can be an arduous task. Probate issues are part of that. Since a will does not go into effect until it has gone through probate, this is not to be ignored. Once the will has been admitted into probate, it will go into effect. Knowing important factors in probate, such as who can apply for probate and what information must be provided for the probate to move forward, are foundational and should be understood from the start.