Estate Administration

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• What Does it Mean to Administer an Estate? •

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With or without a will, the process of probate is often complex and stressful. You don’t have to go it alone. Our Attorneys can help.

Estate Administration appears to be a daunting undertaking, especially in the midst of the grief that coincides with losing a loved one. However, Estate Administration in Texas is significantly more efficient than in most other states. The Texas Estates Code allows for an independent administration if provided for in the decedent’s Will or if all of the beneficiaries or heirs agree to it. If an administration is “independent,” the Executor or Administrator will have very little Court oversight and will be able to avoid additional Court costs and Attorney fees that come when Court approval is required for each step of the administration.

The individual in charge of administering an estate is known as the personal representative. The personal representative is either named in the decedent’s Will as “Executor” or is appointed by the court as an “Administrator” when the decedent does not have a Will or when the person named in the Will is unable or unwilling to serve. The personal representative is required to take an oath, which allows for the issuance of Letters of Administration or Letters Testamentary. These Letters give the personal representative the authority to act on behalf of the estate.

The two main components of the personal representative’s role include the completion of the statutory requirements imposed by the Texas Estates Code and the practical, hands on tasks of administering an estate. Some of the statutory requirements include:

  • A general notice to creditors (published in a local newspaper)
  • A notice to beneficiaries
  • A notice to secured creditors of the estate and possibly to unsecured creditors
  • The filing of an inventory of all of the assets of the estate and claims of the estate

Texas also allows for an Affidavit In Lieu of Inventory, if the personal representative does not want the Inventory to become a public document.

The practical, hands on tasks of administering an estate can include but is not limited to:

  • Locating the decedent’s assets
  • Accessing the decedent’s safety deposit box
  • Preserving the assets (making sure bills are paid while the house is on the market etc.)
  • Canceling memberships and subscriptions
  • Filing a final tax return
  • Distributing personal effects amongst beneficiaries
  • Conducting an estate sale
  • Paying creditors
  • Selling assets
  • Notifying employers of death
  • Opening up an estate account

The Attorneys at Hayes & Wilson PLLC walk alongside the personal representative to complete all of the statutory requirements and answer any questions regarding the practical administrative tasks. If you find yourself the Executor or Administrator of an Estate, contact us. We can help.

Call to schedule a consultation.

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