I’ve Been Appointed Executor. Now What?
Aug. 24, 2022
Coping with the death of a loved one is never an easy thing to go through, and for certain individuals, there will be an added level of responsibility if they’ve been appointed the estate executor.
Whenever an individual dies, someone is responsible for managing their estate. Ideally, this role is predetermined in the deceased’s will, but it can also be assigned by a judge. Who can serve as an executor? What does an estate executor do?
For answers to these questions, you may wish to speak with an estate planning attorney to understand more about this process. If you’re in the San Antonio, Texas, area, including Boerne and New Braunfels, reach out to James P. Peterson Attorney at Law for help.
What Is an Executor?
The executor of a will is the person who is responsible for administering the deceased’s estate and ensuring their will is followed. If the deceased died without a will in place (known as dying intestate), the court can assign someone to this role, but they’ll be referred to as the “administrator.” This is typically a surviving spouse or adult child, but it can also be an attorney or trust company if there is no family member to take on the responsibility. This role is sometimes referred to as the “personal representative” in Texas.
Qualifications to Serve as an Executor
When assigning someone as your executor, you want to choose someone who is responsible, organized, and trustworthy in that they will follow your wishes as laid out in your will. Legally, this person needs to be over the age of 18 who has not been convicted of a felony or deemed “unsuitable” by a judge. Hopefully, this person is aware of their role and has agreed to take on these responsibilities, but there are some instances when the executor either cannot or does not want to perform this duty. A court cannot force anyone to be the executor.
Duties of the Executor
The duties of an executor will vary depending on the size and complexity of the estate. In general, they’ll be responsible for working with the court while the will goes through probate. This includes filing the necessary applications with the county, posting notices for creditors, contacting beneficiaries, providing time for anyone to come forward who wants to contest the will, locating and inventorying the deceased’s assets, paying off debts and taxes, and then distributing the assets to the named beneficiaries. In some cases, you may need to work with (and pay) an appraiser for certain assets. The executor is also responsible for communicating with the court regularly and providing any inventory or accounting of the estate when requested.
Compensation for the Executor
Oftentimes, an executor will choose to work with an attorney during this time for help with the legal requirements of the court. The process of probate can take anywhere from a few months to over a year to complete, and this can be a stressful and labor-intensive job. Because of this, compensation for the executor can be taken out of the assets to help them complete their duties. You can also pay attorney’s fees with these assets as well.
Trusted Guidance When You Need It Most
Administering a will and managing all the moving parts of debts, taxes, and conflicts among family and beneficiaries can be extremely taxing for an executor. And, you’ll have to perform these functions while also grieving your lost loved one. If you’re in the San Antonio, Texas, area and would like help with any aspect of this process, call James P. Peterson Attorney at Law for experienced legal assistance you can trust.