Estate administration is the procedure during which the estate of a person who has recently died is maintained and divided among his or her heirs or beneficiaries. This usually happens according to the instructions in a will, but in case there is no will, there are laws regulating that situation, as well.
If the decedent had the foresight to draft and execute a will in Dallas County, Texas, the estate is typically administered in a way that follows the instructions the will lays out, as closely as possible.
Most commonly, a will names a person to serve as executor, whose job it is to guarantee that the estate is properly administered.
The executor is often the person who will get the most money or property out of the will if it is given effect, because this is the person who will have the greatest incentive to see that the probate process goes as rapidly as possible.
What if The Will Does Not Name an Executor?
If a Dallas County, Texas will does not name an executor, or no will exists or can be found, it's up to the local court to determine who should be the executor.
This is most often the person who would inherit most under the will, or under the intestacy scheme of Texas. Intestacy is when a person dies without having made a will, or if a will turns out to be invalid. The intestacy laws of each state determine how property is distributed in such a situation. In most states, it simply goes to the closest living relative.
When a will is silent as to who should be the executor, any individual who has some direct interest in the result can ask to be named executor by the Dallas County, Texas court.
Whoever ends up as the executor, it is their responsibility to serve as the personal representative of the estate. They will be accountable for taking account of all of the decedent's assets and debts, as well as notifying beneficiaries who may be estranged from the decedent, among other things.
Can a Dallas County, Texas Estate Administration Attorney Help?
If you find yourself named in a will as executor of an estate, and aren't sure how to meet your responsibilities, or where to begin, it would be a good idea to consult with an experienced Dallas County, Texas lawyer who can help you navigate this sometimes-perplexing process.