There are all kinds of decisions you have to make when you put your estate plan in place. One of the most important is who will be your estate’s executor (also known as the personal representative).
The executor of your estate is responsible for everything from filing your last income tax returns and paying your final bills to making sure that your assets are secured while probate is in process. They’re ultimately also responsible for making sure that your heirs receive what they are due.
While you can use your estate plan to designate whom you want to serve in this capacity, the probate court judge has the final say. They will need to make sure that the person you have named is qualified for the job.
What are the legal requirements?
Because this job carries a tremendous amount of responsibility and gives the executor access to everything you own at the time of your death, the law in this state specifies that the person must:
- Be at least 18 years of age
- Physically and mentally capable of serving
- Not be a felon (unless they have received a pardon or had all their civil rights legally restored to them)
In addition, your executor must also be a resident of Texas or they must be willing to appoint an in-state agent to accept service of any legal documents on your behalf. For practical purposes, however, it’s generally better to appoint someone who lives close to you.
In addition, the court may require the person you name to be bonded. This essentially acts as an insurance policy or guarantee that the executor will fulfill their duties carefully and correctly and protects the estate against loss due to any negligence or fraud on their part.
Estate planning can be easier when you understand more about how the probate process works, and what you need to do to make sure your goals are met. Having legal guidance helps.