If you've been named executor of an estate and need help with the probate of the will and the administration of the estate, contact an experienced Texas probate lawyer at the Law Office of Douglas C. Smith in El Paso. I can help you probate the will and discharge your duties properly and efficiently.
Law Office of Douglas C. Smith - El Paso Probate Law Firm
Whenever a person dies, he or she leaves behind an estate. If there's no will, the Texas laws of intestate succession define the heirs and their rights to share in the estate. If there is a will, the executor - the person named by the decedent to effectuate his or her wishes after death - files the will in Probate Court and assumes the responsibility for administering the estate.
Because wills drafted by probate attorneys will normally be self-proving - that is, witnessed and notarized in such a way that no question as to the will's genuineness will appear on the face of the instrument - it will likely be accepted as the decedent's last will and testament, unless a later document of similar reliability is produced by a different executor. That's been known to happen, but would be very unusual. Then executors discharge the following duties:
- Notify known heirs
- Publish and advertise the estate for unknown heirs and creditors
- Identify and inventory assets
- Pay debts and taxes
- Handle claims against the estate
- Assemble the assets of the estate and pursue claims owed to the estate
- Submit a report and accounting of the estate and its income and expenditures to the Probate Court
- Distribute bequests and assets upon the completion of probate
Problems can arise in the administration of the estate - an heir might allege that the decedent was incompetent or under undue influence at the time of the last will and testament, or a creditor might overstate a claim against the estate. Heirs might also challenge the competence or honesty of the executor or the executor's agent or attorney. Probate litigation is sometimes necessary to resolve these disputes.
I have extensive experience in the administration of decedent's estates under the Texas Probate Code and can advise you through every step of the process. My experience can help small difficulties from becoming large and expensive estate administration problems. For specific advice about your probate situation, contact a seasoned El Paso probate attorney at the Law Office of Douglas C. Smith.