In Texas someone is deemed the Executor of and Estate when there is Probate with a Will. If there is no will, but someone is appointed to administrate the Estate, that person will be called the Administrator of the Estate.

In general their duties are the same, there might be some small differences, however in most cases, the terms can be used interchangeably.

The Executor Duties under Texas Law

The main duties that Texas law requires of an Executor / Administrator are:

  1. Identify and Collect the assets of the Decedent’s estate;
  2. Pay any debts that the Decedent owed at the time of his or her death; and
  3. Distribute the remaining assets according to either the Will or pursuant to Texas intestacy laws if the Decedent died without a Will.

There are several other responsibilities that an Executor / Administrator needs to fulfill, most are the same, but they are generally dictated by the type of probate administration that the Estate is been processed under (You can read more here on that subject).

The Responsibilities of an Executor

Every Estate is different, and under some circumstances, we understand that responsibilities of an executor may feel like a lot. To help you better understand he duties of the Executor we will clarify the main ones below:

  1. Identifying/Collecting Assets:  It is the Executor’s duty to identify all the assets of the Deceased as his/her time of death. Assets can be many things. Most common assets that we see are bank and brokerage accounts, stock certificates, retirement accounts, real estate, personal property, household furnishing, cars, and so on. The Court requires the Executor to provide a complete list to the Court, so that people can know the full extent of the estate. This list is called an “inventory” and must be filed as part of the probate procedure. An other duty during this process is for the Executor to ensure that the assets are collected into an Estate Account, and that items are safeguarded or secured and properly insured.
  2. Paying Estate Debts: The main duty here is that the Executor goes over every Claimed by potential creditors, and approve or deny them based on their merit. The next step would be that the Creditors with valid claims are paid. If the situation arises that the Estate has more debt than assets, Texas Law will determine the way the debts need to be paid, in which order and in which specific pro-rated way.
  3. Distributing Remaining Estate Assets: In most Estates, there will be assets remaining after all debts have been paid. It will be the Executor’s responsibility to distribute the remaining assets pursuant to the provisions of the Will (or if there was no will, according to Texas Intestacy laws).

Does an Executor receive Compensation?

It depends on what the will says. If the will includes a provision on how much the Executor gets compensated, then the Will decides. However if the Will is silent, the law will determine how and when a compensation is given.

It is important that you understand your role as Executor / Administrator, because you will be not only responsible to the heirs, beneficiaries or devisees of the Estate, but also the Court in which the probate procedure is pending. Taking up the role of Executor / Administrator can be time consuming, and depending on the complexity of the Estate, may require a long term commitment.

For this reason, if you have been named the Executor you might want to talk to an experienced attorney to see what your responsibilities will be, before taking up the position. We at GP Schoemakers, PLLC are glad to help you with the probate process, we can help you understand your duties, and advise you in your role. If you have questions, or would like us to represent you during probate, we are here to talk to you! You can book an appointment here, or contact our office.