The Executor of a Will Has a Duty to Locate and Preserve Estate Assets
Locating estate assets
Fulfilling the role of executor for a friend or loved one's Will can be a daunting job if you choose to go it alone. Depending on the size and types of assets in the estate, the task can quickly become overwhelming. Most people elect to hire an experienced probate attorney to provide advice and assistance along the way. If you do hire an attorney, one of the first things your attorney should tell you about is your duty to protect the estate's assets.
If your deceased friend or loved one was very prepared, you may have the benefit of a letter of instruction. A letter of instruction can be prepared at the same time as the Will or at a later time. The testator may keep the letter of instruction with the Will, or go ahead and give a copy to the executor ahead of time. If you have a letter of instruction, you have a head start in locating assets of the estate.
You should also go through the decedent's papers and personal files to find additional clues as to existing bank accounts, investments and life insurance policies.
Protecting estate assets
As you identify assets, including obvious ones such as the decedent's home and vehicles, as the executor of the estate you have a duty to protect the assets from destruction or deterioration. You should take steps to make sure insurance coverage is maintained as needed and the physical assets are locked and monitored routinely. If the assets are security for debt, you should make the payments from estate funds. Valuables such as jewelry should be kept in a safe place, such as a safe deposit box rented in your name as executor.
One of our experienced probate attorneys at Peterson Law Group can walk you through the estate administration process, and provide as much help as you need to make the process go smoothly. Contact the Peterson Law Group today at 979-703-7014, or visit us online to learn more about being the executor of a Will in Texas.