Responsibilities of an Independent Executor

Independent Executor’s for a decedent’s estate must understand that their primary function is to fulfill their legal obligations and responsibilities in accordance with state laws and the terms of the deceased person’s will. They manage the deceased person’s assets, pay debts and taxes, and distribute the remaining assets to the beneficiaries according to the will.

Understanding the Terms of the Will

The executor must become familiar with the terms of the will. As such, is important to review the will in its entirety and understand the instructions and wishes of the deceased.

Managing the Decedent’s Assets

The executor is responsible for the management and preservation of assets that the decedent left behind until they can be distributed in accordance to their will. This includes the collection of any outstanding debts, the payment of any bills or taxes that are owed, and making sure that all of their assets are properly accounted for and safeguarded.

Payment of Debts and Taxes

An important aspect that the executor is in charge of is the payment of debts and taxes that the decedent may still owe. This includes any credit card balances, mortgages, or other loans, as well as any state or federal taxes that are owed. It is important to pay these debts and taxes as soon as possible in order to ensure that the assets of the estate are not depleted.

Notification of Beneficiaries

The executor has the responsibility of notifying beneficiaries of the will of the death of the testator and their right to inherit the assets. This includes providing them with a copy of the will and any other relevant documents, as well as keeping them informed on the status of the probate process.

Maintaining Accurate Records

According to the Texas Estates Code, the executor must file an inventory of the estate’s assets within ninety days of being appointed, and then file annual or biennial accountings with the court, unless the will or court order states otherwise.

The beneficiaries of the estate have the right to request an accounting at any time, and the executor is obligated to provide it. The accounting should include detailed information about the assets of the estate, any debts or taxes that have been paid, and any distributions made to the beneficiaries. It is important for the executor to keep accurate records throughout the probate process, to ensure that the accounting is complete and accurate.

Disqualification of Executors

Texas, there are certain circumstances that can disqualify a person from serving as an executor of a will. These include:

  • Ineligibility: A person who is not legally eligible to serve as an executor, such as a minor or someone who has been declared mentally incompetent, will be disqualified.
  • Conflict of Interest: A person who has a conflict of interest with the estate or the beneficiaries will be disqualified. This can include a beneficiary who is also named as the executor, or an executor who is also a creditor of the estate.
  • Criminal Conviction: A person who has been convicted of a crime involving moral turpitude, such as embezzlement or fraud, will be disqualified from serving as an executor.
  • Failure to Meet Bonding Requirements: An executor may be required by the court to post a bond, which is a form of insurance that protects the estate against losses. If the executor fails to meet the bonding requirements, they will be disqualified.
  • Refusal or Inability to Act: An executor may be disqualified if they refuse to act or are unable to act, for example if they are physically or mentally unable to perform the responsibilities of the role.

It’s worth noting that even if an executor is not disqualified, the court may remove an executor if it finds that it would be in the best interest of the estate. An example of this scenario could be if the executor is not performing their duties or if there is a better qualified person who can serve as executor.

The Takeaway

In conclusion, as an executor in Texas, it is important to understand and fulfill your legal obligations, including managing the assets of the deceased, paying debts and taxes, notifying beneficiaries, keeping accurate records, and seeking legal advice. By following these guidelines, you can help ensure that the probate process runs smoothly and that the wishes of the deceased are carried out in accordance with the law.

Do you need help with a probate matter in San Antonio or the surrounding area?  We are San Antonio probate attorneys.  We help clients navigate the probate process.   Call today for a free confidential consultation, (210) 239-8518.

Our San Antonio Probate Attorneys provide a full range of probate services to our clients, including helping with estate administration. Affordable rates, fixed fees, and payment plans are available. We provide step-by-step instructions, guidance, checklists, and more for completing the probate process. We have years of combined experience we can use to support and guide you with probate and estate matters. Call us today for a FREE attorney consultation.


The content of this website is for informational purposes only and should not be construed as legal advice. The information presented may not apply to your situation and should not be acted upon without consulting a qualified probate attorney. We encourage you to seek the advice of a competent attorney with any legal questions you may have.

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