Common Executor Mistakes Probate Texas
As an executor, you’ll have many duties to perform and many decisions to make. But, in addition to being an executor – you’re also human. This means you might just make a mistake or two.
To help you avoid doing that, take note of some of the most common mistakes executors make.
- Showing favoritism – as executor, you have a fiduciary responsibility to act in accordance with the best interests of the estate, not yours or a loved one’s. Always do your best to treat everyone fairly and equally.
- Forgiving debts – although one of the heirs may owe the decedent money, you don’t have the legal authority to cancel any debts, out of fairness to the other heirs.
- Making distributions too soon – you may be tempted to distribute assets too soon, especially if you’re under pressure from one or more of the heirs. Remember, all debts must be settled and taxes paid before general distribution to heirs begins.
- Limiting communications – keeping heirs informed about the estate settlement process and the progress being made along the way can help reduce suspicion and anxiety, making your work go smoother and easier.
- Not providing notice of death – publishing a notice of death protects you from liability and enables the estate to wrap up quicker because these publications reduce the time creditors have to make claims. All creditors must be notified of the death, given instructions on how to contact you, and told when the deadline to do so is.
- Paying bills too quickly – while it’s necessary to pay small bills, like utility bills, as soon as they're received, hold off on paying other bills until you have a complete handle on the estate’s finances. You never know when a big tax bill with a higher priority will appear unexpectedly.
- Overlooking valuable assets – take time to find and value all estate assets. Don’t miss things like bank accounts, valuable collectibles, or unclaimed pensions.
- Playing the market – your duty as the estate’s executor is to protect assets and manage them prudently. Use your best judgment. If the estate is going to take a long time to settle, you likely won’t be held liable for investing cash in a conservative mutual fund, but it may prove costly for you if you lose estate money in penny stocks or foreign currency exchanges.
- Not protecting property in vacant homes – be sure that all assets in a vacant home are protected by insurance, just as you would if the house was occupied. Most homeowner’s policies don’t cover property left in vacant homes.
- Failing to act – don’t forget about important deadlines for certain tasks, and that you have an obligation to settle the estate in a reasonable timeframe. If you’re overcome with grief or just overwhelmed by the situation, you can step down voluntarily. If you continually fail to act, the court or heirs may initiate an attempt to replace you.
Questions Concerning Probate and Real Estate?
Certain aspects of settling an estate, like handling an estate’s real estate holdings, may be outside your area of expertise or comfort zone. If in doubt, work with a professional.
If you have questions concerning probate and real estate in Tarrant, Parker, Wise, Collin, Denton, or Dallas County, contact David Pannell and Cities Real Estate. David has extensive experience helping families with their real estate needs before, during, and after the probate process.
David has been an agent/realtor since 2005. He has served as a United States Marines, City of Arlington police officer, and is a dedicated family man. You can trust him to put your interests first in any and all situations.
Call David today at (817) 797-9047 for help with your real estate and probate needs. You will be treated respectfully, and your requirements will be met efficiently and confidentially.
NTREIS data last updated December 2, 2023.