Estate Executor

Estate Executor Checklist

Estate Administration Swimming with the Sharks Chances are fairly good that you will, at some time or another, serve as an independent executor of an estate.  Your chances increase exponentially if you are married (spouses are customarily named in a will as executor) or are an only child. Being an independent executor is a fairly easy gig if you also happen to be the sole beneficiary and there is no conflict with other family...

An Inheritance Lost – Early Estate Grab Goes Wrong

  Here is how to lose your grandmother's 4.15 carat marquise cut diamond ring to your former wife. First, when your grandmother dies, become the administrator of her estate. Second, pull your grandmother’s very valuable diamond ring from the custodian account in a New York bank and have it sent to you. Do this even though you have not settled the entire estate, and you are not the only beneficiary entitled to...

Problem Solved – 85th Legislature Hits the Bullseye

It turns out that the Texas 85th Legislature was pretty creative with probate problem-solving. This should delight administrators and executors throughout our land. The first problem concerned that pesky law requiring a will to be probated within 4 years from the date of death. Some judges interpreted that to mean that the will had to be actually admitted to probate within the 4 year period – a process which required...

The Job of Executor – Privilege or Punishment? 

  Deciding whether to serve as an executor of a decedent’s estate? There are a few things you should consider before signing off on the oath. An executor is a fiduciary. You will have a duty to care for the estate like a prudent person would take care of his own property. If you gamble a lot, don’t believe in property insurance, and start fires so you can watch the fire trucks...

Working for Peanuts – Executors Have to Push for Payment

Happily for executors everywhere in our wonderful state of Texas the law against involuntary servitude is still in place. That means you are entitled to be paid for your service as an executor. How much? Grab a cup of coffee and prepare to settle in – the answer is not so simple. A well-drafted will usually has a paragraph about compensation. It may be hourly, a flat fee, a percentage of...

Into the Line of Fire – Federal Gun Laws Stymie Estate Executors

It is fairly common when a gun owner dies for his or her probate estate to end up holding firearms. That may be hazardous for the probate executor and the beneficiaries, whose ignorance of the federal and state gun laws could result in some pretty lengthy jail time. First, some background. Texas lightly regulates the buying and selling of firearms. In contrast, the federal government heavily regulates every part of the...

Death and Taxes

Bob dies, leaving a will that names his old friend TRS as his independent executor. Deeply honored, TRS files the will for probate and is appointed as an independent executor of Bob’s probate estate. TRS proceeds to gather estate assets and pay estate debts and is generally having a pretty good time. He starts thinking that this independent executor job is a piece of cake. And then someone asks him if...

The 4 Most Common Mistakes by an Executor for a Probate Estate

Serving as an executor for a probate estate can be tough. An executor has a duty to gather estate assets, settle estate debts, file the required tax returns, and distribute the remaining property to the beneficiaries per the Will.  Often that means wading through a lot of paperwork, dealing with family drama, and not receiving many kudos in return.   To add insult to injury, the executor is a fiduciary and...

Rest In Peace

Want to Rest in Peace? Texas has a form for that. It is called Appointment For Disposition of Remains. The statute sets out a suggested form, but provides that any writing is legally sufficient if it names an agent, is signed by the decedent before a notary, and the agent signs the form before acting. (Note to agent: if you aren’t the executor or administrator of the estate, then you are...
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