The executor of a Texas estate has a lot of responsibility. Their role requires that they locate and secure assets, cooperate with the probate courts and communicate with creditors. They also need to provide beneficiaries with information about the estate and distribute assets to them when the time comes.
Testators sometimes take special steps to keep certain property out of probate court and facilitate a faster and easier transfer of specific assets. Financial accounts ranging from retirement savings to stocks can have a transfer on death designation attached to them. Such accounts will not pass through probate court but instead can quickly become the property of the beneficiary listed on the account paperwork.
How does the executor of an estate help arrange for the transfer of such accounts to the appropriate beneficiary?
They provide notice and documentation
In theory, a beneficiary who is expecting to inherit an account can potentially handle the entire process on their own behalf. However, not everyone is aware of their status as an account beneficiary. They may not even know that a specific account exists before their loved one’s death.
The executor of the estate can notify family members of their status as the beneficiary of specific accounts. The beneficiary then has to assert that right or the funds could end up in legal limbo indefinitely.
The beneficiary will typically need to present a copy of the death certificate to the financial institution or investment professional managing the account in question. They will also need proper identification to establish themselves as the owner of the account. The executor can potentially provide account statements and copies of a death certificate to help beneficiaries more quickly and easily arrange the transfer of accounts.
Locating and managing resources is a major challenge
The more property someone has when they die, the harder it may be for the executor of their estate to track down, secure, value and distribute their assets. Identifying the resources that won’t be part of the probate process can help the executor of the estate to settle the testator’s last wishes and maximize what passes to their chosen beneficiaries.