A will may be essential for assuring that your assets are distributed in accordance with your wishes and that a guardian cares for minor children. Selecting or changing an executor is an important part of estate planning because they help assure that terms of your will are carried out.
An executor has important duties concerning the distribution of your estate after you die. An executor may be your spouse, siblings, adult children, or attorney.
Their duties include:
- Obtaining death certificates.
- Starting probate proceedings.
- Creating an inventory of estate assets.
- Notifying creditors when you dies.
- Paying off your debts.
- Closing bank accounts.
- Reading the will to heirs.
- Distributing assets to heirs and beneficiaries.
Reasons for change
Your estate plan should be reviewed periodically. Changing the executor may be one item that may need changed over time.
You do not have to provide a reason for naming a new executor. Typically, however executors are changed because the original executor died or is unable to fulfill their duties, you divorced your spouse who was named as an executor, the original executor no longer wants to perform these duties, you now have a poor relationship with your executor and someone else can perform these duties better.
Changing the executor
There are two ways to change executors. First, a codicil is a written amendment that can change the executor or other provision without executing an entire new will.
The codicil must contain the name of the new executor or any other specific changes and the date it will take effect. It should be executed in the same manner as the will and comply with the same formalities on witnessing and signing. Attach it to the existing will and keep it in a secure place.
Next, consider drafting a new will if there are additional changes. This process is the same as the drafting and execution of the previous will. But you also need to destroy all copies of the previous will to avoid confusion and a possible will contest after you die.
If you do not name an executor, the probate court may assign one. Eligible individuals may also apply. Failing to name an executor or drafting a will leaves important decisions to the court which decides matters under Texas law which may be different than your wishes.
An attorney can help prepare a will and assist you with other estate matters such as establishing a trust and drafting a power of attorney. They can help assure your plan meets state legal requirements.