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Understanding the probate process as an executor is critical


If you’ve been appointed to help settle an estate in Texas as an executor, understanding the probate process can be helpful. Armed with information on what to expect should make it easier and more efficient to handle. However, if you and your siblings are beneficiaries, you may run into disagreements. Knowing how to settle them is essential when you’re acting as an executor.

Going through the probate process

When you’re an executor of an estate assisting with the probate process, it’s essential to notify creditors and heirs. You will also take inventory of the estate’s assets. Once these tasks have been completed, the decedent’s assets can be distributed. Probate may take months or years to complete depending on its complexity.

The fiduciary duty of an executor

As an executor of an estate, you have a fiduciary duty to act in the estate’s best interests. When beneficiaries are listed, you’ll be working as an executor for their benefit. However, you have a legal duty to follow the terms stated in the will or state law if a will isn’t involved in the probate process. This responsibility can become challenging if you deal with beneficiaries who don’t agree with your actions.

Don’t count on receiving any assets

When an estate holds a large amount of cash, some beneficiaries may believe they will be receiving a portion of these assets. Unfortunately, creditors and the IRS get paid first. If you’re helping settle an estate during the probate process, you’ll need to cover any unpaid bills and taxes first before beneficiaries receive what they think they deserve. If cash or other valuables are left over after all expenses have been paid, the beneficiaries will receive what’s left as long as it abides by the will or state law.

Understanding how the probate process works and the fiduciary duty you must uphold as an executor should help make you more aware of your responsibilities, saving time and frustration.