Serving as the executor of a decedent’s estate in Texas and elsewhere is an important responsibility that requires serious commitment to the duties that must be performed by law. If the estate is not administered properly as required, there is potential liability against the executor. An executor must use sound judgment and must be committed to following the letter of the law.
The executor will likely have a good working relationship with the attorney handling the estate. This will assure legal propriety in the process as it transpires. The attorney will also provide credibility to the executor’s actions, as long as they are the result of cooperation between the two. The executor can also get to know the testator, i.e., the decedent who made the will, while that person is still alive.
In that way, the executor can get to know the intimate and detailed wishes of the testator for execution of his or her wishes when the appropriate time comes. This should include at a minimum obtaining the details regarding the whereabouts of the will and the location of all pertinent financial documents and accounts, reflecting the assets owned by the testator. It is always helpful if the testator provides a letter of instructions directly to his or her chosen executor.
In current times, most people have online accounts, social media sites and other related financial matters that are kept online. These items should also be included in the letter of instructions or other documentary material, along with references to all life insurance policies and other insurance documents. It is also important for the executor to have contact information for the testator’s accountant and estate planning attorney. As explained in prior blogs, the duties of the executor with respect to a Texas estate include identifying and collecting all assets, paying all bills and administrative expenses, including funeral expenses, and distributing the remaining funds as directed by the will.
Source: cnbc.com, “The other side of a will: Serving as executor to an estate“, Shelly Schwartz, Oct. 3, 2015