The Livens Law Firm

Estate administration usually follows the dictates of a will

When a person dies in Texas, his or her will provides for appointment of an executor to handle the estate's administration. If there was no will, the statutory law of Texas designates persons who may qualify as an administrator of the estate. An executor or administrator will have to take certain steps and perform certain duties to properly administer the estate. Both executors and administrators may be generically referred to as the personal representative of the estate.

In a general sense, the biggest tasks for the personal representative are to collect the assets, pay the bills, and distribute the remaining funds to the beneficiaries. In some cases, the estate will be supervised by a probate judge, but that is not necessary if no special issues are involved. It is generally appropriate to administer the estate, perform all tasks and distribute the assets without formal court supervision.

When the more informal method is followed, the personal representative obtains the final releases of the beneficiaries, stating that they have received a full accounting and that they are releasing the personal representative from liability. The personal representative will give each of the beneficiaries an accounting of all income and expenditures. This is all generally handled when the final distribution is ready to be made.

If real estate is bequeathed in the will to a particular person, then the estate will usually convey a deed to that person. Where the will doesn't have a specific gift of the real estate, then the personal representative will usually sell it for market value and put the proceeds into the estate account. It will be distributed to the beneficiaries with the other proceeds.

There are many other tasks a personal representative may need to perform pursuant to the will and/or the law of Texas. These may involve administering bank accounts, cars, personal property, investment accounts, insurance and a myriad of other tasks. Fortunately, the personal representative works closely with the estate's attorney so that all procedures will be explained and understood as the process is taken to its successful conclusion.

Source: thespectrum.com, "Prepare for death of loved one", Bo Bingham, April 16, 2015

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