Probate and Estate Administration
Following the death of a Texas resident, if the decedent left a valid will, the property passes directly to the beneficiaries according to the terms of the will. There are some legal tasks that must first be done in order for that to happen.
An experienced and knowledgeable probate and estate administration attorney at The Reecer Law Firm, P.L.L.C. may be your best resource for navigating through the maze of probate law and its required processes.
The Legal Process of Estate Administration
The first step is to deliver the decedent’s will to the clerk of the court that has jurisdiction over the estate. This can be done by giving the will to the probate attorney who will make sure it is properly filed with the court along with the proper court documents.
The next step is for the court to appoint someone as executor of the estate. This is done by way of “Letters Testamentary” which are documents from the probate court appointing someone as executor. This may be someone who the decedent named as the executor in the will, or if that person has died or refuses to accept the position, a person selected by the probate court.
Duties of the Executor
The executor of an estate has many legal duties which include:
- Notifying all beneficiaries and creditors of the decedent’s death.
- Identifying, locating, collecting, and keeping safe all the decedent’s property.
- Filing an inventory of property with the court.
- Arranging for the property to be appraised, if necessary.
- Determining if state or federal tax returns need to be filed. This may be complicated if there is a surviving spouse, or if the estate earns money between the time of the death and the distribution of assets.
- Paying the decedent’s debts and disputing invalid monetary claims against the estate.
- Selling real estate if required to pay creditors or to otherwise comply with the terms of the will. This may require a special order from the probate court.
- Paying all estate taxes.
- Distributing the assets according to the terms of the decedent’s will. If there is no will, then the executor must see that the property is distributed according to Texas state law.
- Transferring title and ownership of assets to the designated beneficiaries.
- Filing an accounting with the court if required.
- Filing a Notice of Closing Estate which informs the probate court that all tasks have been completed, the assets have been distributed, and the probate process is complete.
Is Probate Always Required?
There may be situations where probate is not required. A probate attorney will be able to discern whether probate is required in your particular situation.
Contact Probate and Estate Administration Attorneys at The Reecer Law Firm, P.L.L.C.
When you need help in dealing with the aftermath of a loved one’s death, rely on a Denton County law firm with an attorney who specializes in this area. Call us at The Reecer Law Firm, P.L.L.C. at 940-382-3168 or use our convenient online form to tell us about your situation.