Who Can Serve as Executor of an Estate?
When you create your will, one of the more important considerations is who will serve as executor of your estate. Texas imposes restrictions on who can serve in this capacity. Moreover, it is important that you name an alternate in case the first person does not meet the requirements or for another reason is unable to assume the role. Consult your Bryan probate lawyer as you decide upon who will act as executor of your estate.
Your Duties as Executor
As executor, you are to protect the property in the estate. You are also expected to:
- Maintain all bank accounts as the estate is being probated
- Determine what taxes and debts are owed by the estate
- Determine who all the beneficiaries are and contact them
- Make payments on bills which protect the assets during probate, such as the mortgage on a house
- Pay the taxes and debts once the probate court instructs you to do so
- Distribute the remainder of the estate to the named beneficiaries in accordance with the instructions in the will
This latter step is not always as simple as it sounds. You may, for instance, be instructed to create a trust with some of the estate funds so that a beneficiary who is not good at handling money will only receive a portion of his share at a time.
Texas Restrictions on Executors
All states impose certain restrictions on who may serve as executor of an estate. This is because the position carries a great deal of responsibility. The following are some of the main requirements for serving as a Texas executor:
- You must be at least 18 years old.
- You must be of sound mind. This means that a court has not deemed you to be mentally incapacitated.
- You must be a U.S. resident.
- You cannot have been convicted of a felony. If, however, you have been pardoned and/or had your civil rights restored, you may serve.
While there is no legal requirement that you live in the state, practically speaking, it is better that a person who accepts the role of executor does live in Texas and in the general vicinity of where the probate court adjudicated the will. If the executor is living out of state, you are required to appoint a Texas resident to serve as an in-state agent who accepts legal documents on behalf of the estate.