Typically, Texas residents and other people throughout the country are asked to be the executors of their parents or spouses' estates. There are several tasks that an executor must complete to navigate probate successfully. The first step is to find the will and guard the estate's property. This could mean gathering mail and changing the locks on a home. Locating the will is critical because it will be needed to start the probate process.
There are fees that need to be paid to file a will, and those expenses can be recouped by the executor. It is important that the executor keeps track of all his or her out-of-pocket expenses throughout the process of settling the estate. It may also be a good idea for this person to hire an attorney for assistance throughout the probate process. Once the will has been found and submitted, it is time to gather assets and deal with creditor claims.
If necessary, estate and income tax returns will need to be filed and taxes paid. Taxes owed and any other balances owed to creditors are paid for by the estate. In some cases, assets may need to be liquidated to cover those costs. The final step after paying these expenses is to create a final account of the assets and expenses and distribute assets to beneficiaries.
To make the probate process easier, it may be a good idea to hire an attorney who has experience with probate and estate administration cases. Doing so could reduce the odds that errors are made that can cost both time and money. By keeping costs reasonable, beneficiaries are more likely to get a larger portion of their inheritance. This could help them from a financial and emotional standpoint as settling an estate can help bring closure.