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Considerations before becoming the executor of someone's estate

Being named as the executor of an estate is considered an honor by some Texas residents. However, with the title of executor comes various responsibilities as well. Therefore, a person might find out that they don't really want to be saddled with the responsibility of settling someone's affairs after they've passed on. If estate affairs aren't handled properly, the executor of the estate could end up being sued by beneficiaries and creditors.

It might be a good idea for executors of estates to seek out the services of a lawyer, especially if they foresee that the estate administration process might become contentious. Plus, executors have to deal with the issue of probate, which consists of paying an estate's taxes and final bills as well as determining the valuation of the estate's assets for distribution among heirs.

Additionally, executors of estates are in charge of taking care of all paperwork pertaining to the estate. Tax records, wills, trusts and bank accounts are all the responsibility of the executor. Executors are also responsible for informing all necessary parties of the deceased person's death, such as the Social Security Administration, creditors and insurance companies. Additional duties of an executor include collecting debts that are owed to the estate, locating all assets belonging to the estate and notifying the heirs of any bequests that they're entitled to.

Being the executor of an estate can be a time-consuming legal process that spans months or even years. As such, it's permissible for the executor to charge a fee to an estate. However, before an individual agrees to be the executor of an estate, they should ensure that they fully understand the responsibilities that come with the title. They might also want to seek the services of a probate lawyer to assist them with tasks that they're unsure about in order to avoid any legal complications.

Source: KDH News, "Should you become executor of someone’s estate?", Jason Alderman, August 18, 2013

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