Congratulations! You have just been appointed by a Texas Court to a position of great trust, confidence, and responsibility. Gerry Beyer, my Wills and Trust professor in law school said, “being an executor is like doing drugs, you just say no.” But you said yes.
If you are one of my clients who is watching this video, I will go through with you each step and what we are going to do for you. If you are not my client but are acting as an executor in the State of Texas, please note that your attorney may be helping you through this process. It depends on the contract you signed.
As the duly appointed Independent Executor, you must do the following:
- File your oath of office within 20 days of your appointment (we do this for our clients).
- File your bond, if required, by the Court within 20 days of your appointment (my staff will reach out to you if you are required to do this. If my staff does not reach out to you to get a bond, then the court waived this requirement).
- Within one month after receiving letters, you are required to publish a Notice to Claimants as required by §308.051 of the Texas Estates Code. File the Publisher’s Affidavit with the original newspaper article with the court (once again, my staff will do this for you).
- For every person who dies on or after Sept. 1, 2007, the personal representative appointed after a will is probated must notify all beneficiaries named in the will within 60 days of the date the will is probated. The notice must include: 1. a copy of the will and 2. an order admitting the will to probate. Waivers are permitted. Personal representatives must prove that they complied with the requirements by filing an affidavit within 90 days of the probate (for my clients, my staff will do this for you. They will reach out to you if they need information).
- File an Inventory, Appraisement, and List of Claims of the estate within 90 days after taking the Oath as required by §309.051 of the Texas Estates Code or an affidavit in lieu if authorized by a will (my staff will reach out to you and help you do this).
The next following items you can do on your own as an independent personal representative. You may hire us to do some of these items, but it will be an additional cost. Email me or my staff with the items you will like us to do for you.
- Obtain a tax identification number for the estate
- Speak to a CPA about filing a tax return
- Gather all financial assets of the decedent and deposit them into a bank account.
The following are ways to find more assets:
- Look at bank accounts to see if any money was being transferred to unknown accounts or purchasing life insurance
- Get a credit report
- Look through the mail
- Check Texas unclaimed property
If you would like for us to do accounting for you, you can email us and we can create accounting for you of the property. You can also do this with the CPA who is filing the final tax returns.
Handle Debts of the Estate
If a creditor files a claim, you are responsible to handle it. If you are selling real property, please be careful. No self-dealing unless all the beneficiaries agree in writing. You can use my title company WG Title to handle the closing. We deal with probate closings all the time and we know how to get around complex issues that can arise. If you use another title company and they call me to gather documents for them, additional costs will be incurred.
If a car is upside down, contact the car company to repossess the property. If it has equity, then try to sell it. Carmax is a good place to sell.
Dividing up the personal property can be the most difficult task. The rule is if everyone agrees, you can distribute items to certain individuals. Please get this in writing. If beneficiaries are fighting over an asset, it needs to be sold.
If anyone threatens to contest or cause any problems please let me know ASAP. Attorneys are eager to file suit in probate cases and unfortunately, they can take a significant amount of the estate, if not all of it. After you have waited for the Notice to Creditor period to pass and handled all the debts of the estate, then you can distribute the property to the heirs. You might want us to draft a family settlement agreement and release, so no heirs attempt to sue you in the future.