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.
Posts tagged "Estate Administration"
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.