The Estate Executor’s Powers & Duties

Aside from all the work of probating an estate, there is the work of administration.  This must be done according to Texas law, and according the decedent’s Will, if there was one.

In an Independent Administration, once the court has approved the estate inventory, there is no further action to be done in probate.  The executor generally can carry out her duties without any further orders from the court.

The powers and duties are broad and deep, and begin as soon as Letters Testamentary have been issued.  The executor is required to use prudence and ordinary diligence in administering the estate.  This is a brief checklist of the executor’s powers and duties.

1.            Handle estate funds separately from personal funds.  At the outset, obtain a federal tax number (EIN) for the estate.  With the tax number, open an estate bank account.  All estate transactions must go through this account.

2.       Take care of the property of the estate.  Keep any buildings in repair and insured.  Sell real estate or personal property belonging to the estate when necessary.  Sign deeds and other documents as executor and not individually.  Take possession of all personal property and records.

3.        Collect all claims and recover all property owned by the estate.  For example, if someone owed money to the Decedent, the Executor collets it.  This includes pursuing or defending against lawsuits on behalf of the estate.

4.         Provide to the Attorney an Inventory of all estate assets and all claims due to the estate and have the Attorney file it with the Court.

5.            Pay expenses of last illness, expenses of burial, and expenses of administration first.  The Executor may receive reasonable compensation for services rendered to the estate.  The Executor may hire lawyers, accountants, and other professionals as needed.

6.      Pay all claims against the estate properly.  File tax returns of the Decedent and of the estate.  If there is any chance that the estate will not have enough funds to pay all debts of decedent, then pay them in the order set out by state law.

7.         Keep records of all transactions on behalf of the estate with receipts, and render an accounting if demanded by any of the beneficiaries.

8.         Maintain a cash reserve until all debts, claims, and expenses have been paid before making final distribution to the beneficiaries.

9.            Distribute the net estate to the beneficiaries according to the instructions in the Will.

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