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Advice for executors of wills

Being appointed the executor of a will brings many responsibilities. Texas residents who are appointed as executors often need to secure the will holder's home and other assets, notify beneficiaries, probate the will and file estate and income tax returns. Attorneys and financial advisors can help executors of wills with many of these tasks.

It can be easy for an executor to feel overwhelmed with the number of tasks that need to be accomplished. They may meet with an attorney, receive the appointment as the executor and then just do nothing. It is good to keep in mind that the goal is to eventually close the estate, which means that estate administration and probate tasks need to start moving.

The executor should remember that while they have been appointed to do the job, they are not all-powerful. This is not a time to make a power play or let past family issues resurface. A person should never ignore beneficiaries. If a beneficiary is ignored, they could seek to have the executor removed. The executor has the responsibility of keeping beneficiaries informed to a reasonable degree.

Another mistake to avoid is self-dealing. An executor may feel tempted to sell vehicles or other possessions that belong to their deceased family member on their own. However, this is usually not something that a court or beneficiaries see as favorable. It may even be a breach of fiduciary obligation.

Many questions will arise as a person carries out tasks as an executor for a family member's will. A probate attorney could advise a client on things like asset valuation, distribution of assets and other topics that might arise as the deceased individual's estate is closed.

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