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Estate Administration Archives

What happens if a beneficiary dies during the probate process?

If you've been appointed as the executor of someone's estate, then you've likely already been advised by the testator, their attorney or a judge just how long it can take to adjudicate a case. The probate process can take anywhere from weeks to years to see it through here in Houston. You have a lot of responsibilities to take care of as a Texas executor. If the testator's will is contested or a beneficiary dies, then this can extend out how long things take.

How estates are valued

When someone passes away, for legal purposes, all their property is considered to be their estate. The estate is made up of assets such as: homes and other real property; checking and saving accounts; stocks and other investments; retirement accounts; vehicles; collectables and many other types of assets.

Initiating lawsuits on behalf of an estate

A will is meant to give instructions on how to distribute an estate, but someone must be in charge of carrying out those instructions. This is a big part of the process known as estate administration. The individual responsible for doing administering the estate is referred to as the personal representative. This person is often a relative or friend, and is appointed to the position by the terms of the will. If there is no will, or if the person appointed in the will is unavailable, the court will appoint a personal representative.

Personal representatives may need to operate an estate's business

It is inevitable that everyone in Texas will pass away. It is one of the unfortunate facts of life and one of life's only guarantees. When people do pass away they cannot bring anything with them and all the possessions and assets that they accumulated over their life will stay here. The question is who will receive the possessions when they are gone. However, people can control who receives their assets after they have passed through a Will. In their will they can specifically state who will receive their possessions as well as how much a particular person will receive.

Debts and settling an estate

Many people who become executors are unpleasantly surprised to learn that creditors can continue to seek repayment after a person's death. It is not quite as bad as it might, however. Some debts will simply go unpaid after the debtor dies. Any outstanding debts that must be paid will be paid from the estate. If there are insufficient funds in the estate to pay off all the debt, the debt collectors typically cannot get all their money back.

Understanding intestate succession in Texas

Most Texans die without leaving a valid will that instructs the probate court how to distribute their assets. In such cases, the decedent's property must be distributed according to rules that have been adopted in the state's statutes. These rules are known as the rules of intestate succession, and anyone who dies without a will is said to have died intestate.

What is estate administration in Texas?

Texas estates come in all shapes and sizes. Some are large, involving thousands perhaps millions of dollars in assets, some are small, comprising only a few thousand dollars in assets. Some estates consist entirely of cash and stocks and bonds, while others include mostly real property. And most estates have debts left by the decedent that must be paid from estate assets. In essence, estate administration in Texas involves the collection of the decedent's assets, payment of debts and distribution of the remainder of the estate to the decedent's heir and other beneficiaries.

What does an estate administrator do?

Under Texas law, people can become administrator of an estate through several ways. Perhaps the most familiar is a situation in which an executor is appointed in the text of the will. In other cases, the court must appoint an administrator. In most of these court-appointed cases, the heirs must agree to the choice of administrator.

Duties of an estate administrator

When people pass away, all their assets and liabilities become known as the person's estate. Someone has to be in charge of settling the estate's affairs and transferring assets to the heirs and beneficiaries. Under Texas law, this person is known as the executor or estate administrator.

Dispute sparks probate issues over late singer's catalog

Texans who have significant assets or properties that could be the foundation for dispute after they have died will seek to prepare for the future by addressing these probate issues beforehand. Unfortunately, even the most well-crafted estate plan can have complications when it is time for estate administration. Legal issues and disputes among heirs are common, especially when it is a famous person and blended families. While not everyone will be in the position of a prominent performer, there are lessons that can be learned to prepare for the future and avoid mistakes they might have made. If there is a need for litigation, it is even more vital to have legal help.