Acting as an estate executor does not have to be overwhelming. An executor is responsible for protecting the decedent’s assets until probate is completed and the assets are distributed. If a person is unwilling or unable to serve as an estate executor, they can refuse, and a contingent executor will be chosen. Texas law is unique, but with the help of a probate lawyer in Waxahachie, TX, it’s easy to stay on track. Below are some tips on serving as an estate executor.
Get the Death Certificate
The estate executor is responsible for burial and funeral arrangements, which are paid for from the estate’s funds. The funeral home will ask how many death certificate copies are required. These copies are useful in providing documentation to insurance companies, the Veterans Administration, the Social Security Administration, and filing final tax returns. Many lawyers recommend ordering more copies than necessary.
Find the Trust or Will
Whoever chose the executor is most likely to know where the decedent’s trust documents or will are located. The probate court will need a copy of the will, which must be filed shortly after the person’s death. If a decedent has a living trust, it’s possible to avoid probate if the trust was properly set up. Trust assets may be disbursed without the court’s approval, while those included in a will must go through probate.
Once the trust documents and/or will have been obtained, the executor has an idea of how complex the estate administration process will be. At such a point, it’s best to consult a probate lawyer in Waxahachie, TX to avoid mistakes. A lawyer can advise an executor on the proper steps to take, and they can address beneficiaries’ concerns. If an estate must go through probate, the court will look more favorably on the case if a lawyer has been hired.
Being named an estate executor is a tremendous honor, but it presents its share of challenges as well. However, with the help of an estate planning attorney, the process can be greatly simplified. Click here for more details or call Mallios & Associates PC for a consultation.