Many people oversimplify the responsibilities of a Texas estate executor. They will tell you that an executor distributes someone’s property to their beneficiaries and attends court. Those certainly are some of the basic obligations of estate administration, but many other steps are necessary first.
It is the responsibility of the executor to notify creditors about estate proceedings and to repay someone’s financial obligations before they distribute property to beneficiaries. Executors who make mistakes in how they notify and repay creditors could end up personally responsible for those debts.
What must the executive do to protect themselves during estate administration in Texas?
They must provide creditors with proper notice
One of the first steps in estate administration after the courts appoint someone as an executor is for that individual to notify creditors. A thorough review of the deceased individual’s financial records and mail will typically help an executor identify the majority of their creditors.
An executor should send direct notification to all known creditors advising them of the upcoming probate proceedings so that they can make a claim for repayment in probate court. The executor also needs to publish notice in a local newspaper for unknown creditors to discover the probate proceedings. They will then wait to see who responds.
Texas probate law grants creditors either six months from the date the courts appoint an executor or four months from the date they receive notice of estate administration from that executor to file a repayment claim. Once that window of time closes, creditors typically can no longer bring litigation against the estate related to unpaid debts.
Legal support can reduce the risk of major financial mistakes
Oversights in the early stages of estate administration can come back to haunt an executor. If they distribute assets improperly and cannot recover them from the beneficiaries, they may end up personally liable for a portion of the debts they failed to pay.
When the executor of a Texas estate cooperates with a probate lawyer, they will have an easier time complying with the requirements of estate administration to protect themselves from liability. Learning more about probate proceedings will help those tasks with estate administration better fulfill their obligations.