Thoughts of an Independent Executor in Texas

Day 1.  Hey, we will really miss you.  Just found out you named me as the independent executor of your estate!  What an honor.  Really.

Day 3.  Your funeral was packed.  I had no idea you had so many step-kids.    Noticed they and your wife didn’t sit in the same pew with your kids and your ex-wife.  Everybody was very friendly towards me, though.

Day 5.  Talked to the probate lawyer and got  a paper that said “The Independent Executor’s duty  is to collect all of the assets due to the estate, pay all of the debts and expenses of the estate, set aside exempt property and allowances for the family, and distribute the estate to the beneficiaries of the estate.”   And I’m now considered a fiduciary!  There’s a first time for everything, I guess.   Looks like this executor thing may take up some time, but I’m not complaining.    Got the court thing in the works.  Lawyer says a simple application, some notices being sent out, a 5 minute court hearing, and we’re on our way!  Stopped by the house to tell your wife.  Looks like a lot of the furniture has been moved out.

Day 10.  Still looking for that list you mentioned in your will – you know, the one about gifts to family members.   You wife said you meant to give the gun collection to your step-son, but your daughter says it was always going to be hers.    Wow, you had a lot of things in your attic!  Found the name of your insurance agent.  He said that second life insurance policy lapsed two months ago, and you never changed the beneficiary on the first one after your divorce.  Your wife and your ex are fighting about it.

Day 20.  Spent all day today trying to sort out your bills and bank accounts.   Can’t use your on-line password (as if I had it!) to access your accounts, so going to have to visit every institution.  Had to open a new estate account.  Did you know executors have to file an inventory with the court and file an estate tax return?

Day 30.  Looked through your boxes and found a big, expensive-looking binder with a living trust document.  Exhibit “A” was supposed to contain all of the assets you transferred to the trust, but it wasn’t filled out.    Trying to find out if you actually put anything into the trust.  Turns out beneficiaries of the trust are different from beneficiaries in your will.  Your wife has her own lawyer now.  So do your kids.  Count is 3 lawyers, one judge, and me.  Oops, make that 4 lawyers – your step-kids just got in the game.

Day 45.  Spent over 40 hours this week – 2 court hearings, meetings with the estate accountant and the estate lawyer, and getting appraisals on the assets.    Found out I can’t delegate my responsibilities to someone else.

What an honor.  Really.