Articles Posted in Executor

If you are either a beneficiary or a possible beneficiary of a decedent’s estate, and if you have questions about that estate, it is only right that you are provided the answers you need. Sometimes, estate executors can be hesitant to provide information, and if you suspect negligence or wrongdoing, time is of the essence. Fortunately, in Texas, there is a way to demand an accounting (or a summary) of the estate happenings from the executor that is in charge of the estate.

Section 404.001 of the Texas Estates Code

In the Texas Estates Code, legislators provided a clear solution to the problem of not having enough information from an estate’s executor. According to this section of the Code, any interested parties in an estate have the right to demand an accounting from the executor. These interested parties could be beneficiaries, possible beneficiaries, debtors, or creditors.

This provision of the Code can be used as long as 15 months have passed since the estate executor was appointed. Once an individual asks for the accounting under this section of the Code, the executor has 60 days to comply and provide the individual with the relevant documentation.

Continue reading

Many people familiar with Texas estate planning have heard of the “executor” of an estate. It is colloquially understood that an executor is a person assigned by a trustee to manage their final wishes and financial matters after the death of the trustee. Being chosen as the executor of an estate should be seen as an honor, as the selection demonstrates that the trustee has faith and confidence in the abilities and integrity of the chosen executor. Although the privilege of being selected as an executor is certainly a compliment, the responsibilities of executorship are often far more significant than a chosen executor may expect. A recently published article in a financial services trade journal discusses an executor’s duties.

The primary role of the executor is to ensure that the final wishes of the trustee are carried out in the best way possible. This includes both financial and other wishes, such as funeral arrangements, obituary, and the division of sentimental items. When a trustee has prepared a will, the executor is required to use that document as a guide to distributing the estate of the trustee. An executor’s duties may be extremely simple when the estate has little value or few beneficiaries.

High-value estates with more beneficiaries or complex financial assets (trusts, real estate holdings, stocks and options, businesses, annuities, etc.) may be more complicated for the executor. If the estate beneficiaries do not get along with one another or the executor and challenge the division in court, the work of the executor can include retaining counsel on behalf of the estate and working diligently to effect the trustee’s wishes to the best of their good-faith understanding of the will.

Planning ahead and creating a will is important; however, unexpected events can often occur, causing people to reevaluate their will, as well as their Houston estate plan. One such instance is when a will’s executor passes away before the will’s creator, called a testator. This raises the question of who will execute the will. Unfortunately, this is somewhat common, and Houston residents often have questions about the next steps when this situation occurs.

What Happens If the Executor Passes Away?

The executor’s role includes distributing the will’s assets after the testator’s death. However, if the executor precedes the testator in death, there is no person to distribute the person’s assets. Therefore, the court will step in and determine who has the authority to act on the testator’s behalf.

When someone is crafting their will or creating a Houston estate plan, there are many critical decisions they must make. One of the most vital choices is who to serve as the estate’s executor. An executor of an estate is a person appointed to administer the estate of a deceased person, also called a testator. An executor has many tasks they must fulfill, both during the life of the testator, and after they have passed. Although there are many duties an executor must fulfill, it can often be a rewarding position.

What Are an Executor’s Duties?

An executor is responsible for ensuring the deceased’s assets are accounted for, as well as transferring the assets to the people listed in the will. Assets can include cash, stocks, bonds, real estate, or even personal collectibles. Before disbursing the inheritances to the estate’s heirs, the executor must also estimate the value of the estate and pay of all of the debts of the deceased, if they had any. An executor, before the death of the testator, should make sure the testator is keeping a list of assets and debts, properties, and any other relevant information. Overall, the primary duty of an executor is to carry out the wishes of the deceased based on the instructions in their will and estate plan.

12.18.19Being named as an executor is a big responsibility. Before accepting this role, you should understand what the tasks are, and what you need to be careful about to protect yourself.

It’s flattering. Someone you know thinks highly enough of you to name you as their executor. That means they believe you’re ready and able to do things like settle debts, gather assets, manage estate tax and income tax returns, deal with your family members, distribute the assets and do everything that needs to be done before the estate can be settled.

However, Investopedia’s article from last summer, “5 Surprising Hazards of Being an Executor,” explains that the person named as an executor isn’t required to accept the appointment. Prior to agreeing to act as an executor, you should know some of the hazards that can result, as well as how you can address some of these potential issues, so that being an executor can run smoothly.

11.22.19If a temporary administrator has failed to perform their duties properly, the court has the power to remove this person.

Beneficiaries need to know that they have rights too. If a temporary administrator is not following the terms of the will, taking money that belongs to the estate or failing to perform their fiduciary duties, it’s time to go to court.’s recent article, “What to do if an estate administrator isn’t doing his job,” explains that a temporary administrator is usually appointed by a probate judge, because the named executor has died, renounced his or her rights to serve, or is unable to serve.

8.7.19Being named an executor for someone you care about is an honor. It means they trust you and your judgment explicitly. However, it is an honor that comes with responsibilities.

The role of an executor varies with the size and complexity of the estate. The executor is charged with making sure that all final arrangements are made, according to the decedent’s wishes. The executor is also involved with making sure that the distribution of property as directed in the will takes place, taxes are paid and more. It’s a big job. Before agreeing to take on this role, you’ll need to know what it entails, and be confident that you can do it. An article from Investopedia, “5 Things to Consider Before Becoming an Estate Executor” explains the details.

  1. Complexity of the Estate. Typically, the larger the estate—which can be in terms of property, possessions, assets or the number of beneficiaries—the harder and more time consuming it will be. The best way to see how difficult the job will be, is to request to see a copy of the current will. If there are obvious red flags, like unequal distributions to children or trusts or annuities, it may be best to say no.

4.10.19It’s hard because you want to be sure your chosen person understands your wishes, your financial situation and can make good decisions on your behalf. Not everyone can do that.

There is considerable responsibility that comes with being named an executor of an estate, explains MoneySense in the article “Should the sole recipient of an estate be the executor too?” There have been new rules passed in the last year that make the tax reporting even more important. What happens if you realize that the person you originally named may not be up to the task? This is another reason why it’s good to review estate plans every few years. There are several factors to consider when you think about whom you might name.

Consider the person’s age. It’s smart to choose a person who’s younger than you. Although that doesn’t guarantee that they will outlive you, it certainly ups the odds. Ideally, you should try to find a person who is comfortable with the areas of money and tax and doesn’t easily get overwhelmed by paperwork. Since the role of estate executor can be an intense issue that takes a great amount of time, the person you choose ideally will be retired or have the bandwidth to dedicate the substantial time commitment required to do the job properly.

7.13.18Having a will prepared is a gift of kindness to your loved ones. They will appreciate the effort to care for them, after you’ve passed on.

If you need another reason to have a will prepared, consider the potential for conflict among loved ones who will have to guess about what your wishes were during a very difficult time. You can spare them that distress, by preparing your will and estate plan in advance.

US News & World Report’s article, “10 Steps to Writing a Will,” says that if you've been procrastinating on completing the task, here's your opportunity to cross it off your list. You can get going with these simple steps.

Contact Information