When someone passes away, the courts must determine who will take care of their estate. This person could either be an executor named in the deceased’s will, or an administrator named by the court if there are no designated or willing executors. Administering an estate involves two main tasks: ensuring the payment of all the decedent’s debts and overseeing the distribution of property and assets to the heirs or beneficiaries of the estate.
It is essential for an executor or administrator to understand their powers and responsibilities when performing estate administration in Sugar Land. If you were tasked with this role, it is also important to document your actions and it may be required to submit this evidence to the probate court. A knowledgeable attorney at Romano & Sumner could guide you through this process and help you avoid potential legal complications.
When an estate goes into probate, the courts will empower a person to oversee its administration. In most situations, this person is nominated in the deceased’s will. If a nominated executor wants to perform this job, they must submit an application to the court according to the requirements in the Texas Estates Code.
In some cases, the nominated executor may not want the job or may be otherwise ineligible. Here, the court has the power to appoint an administrator. The court will issue letters testamentary for executors or letters of administration for administrators that give them the power to take control over assets, pay debts, and open bank accounts for the estate.
The first task of the executor or administrator is to pay the decedent’s debts. When a will goes to the probate court, creditors will learn about the person’s death through a notice that is required to be published in a local newspaper. The creditors can then demand payment from the decedent’s estate.
If the decedent died with significant cash assets, payment to the creditors may come directly from these accounts. In other situations, it may be necessary to liquidate real estate, personal property, or business interests to pay debts. An experienced local attorney can further advise an executor or administrator on the various functions they may perform in administrating an estate.
Once every creditor receives what is owed to them, the estate administration process can proceed. The next step involves overseeing the transfer of assets to distributees, usually named in the decedent’s will.
If the decedent’s property goes to a single person, it is possible to enact a direct transfer. In cases involving multiple distributees, an executor or administrator may need to liquidate the property before distributing it. For example, it is often necessary to sell a family home and distribute the cash proceeds unless the distributees can come to an agreement on their own. An executor or administrator has the power to take temporary control over assets and oversee the correct distribution.
Executors and administrators of estates must receive court approval to perform their jobs. Once they do, they have the power and legal duty to oversee the proper administration of the estate. These jobs come with two major obligations to pay the decedent’s debts and distribute the remaining assets to the designated parties.
To ensure a smooth and successful estate administration in Sugar Land, work with a dedicated attorney at our firm. Call Romano & Sumner today to set up a consultation with a skilled member of our team.
Romano & Sumner, PLLC