Estate administration is the process 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 governing that situation, as well.
If the decedent had the foresight to draft and execute a will in El Paso, 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 ensure that the estate is properly administered.
The executor is usually whoever stands to obtain the most money or property if the will is given effect, since that is the person who likely has the most incentive to do their part in seeing that the probate process plays out to completion.
What if The Will Does Not Name an Executor?
If an El Paso, Texas will does not appoint anyone to serve as executor, or there is no will, the court has to choose someone to fill that role.
This is most often the person who stands to gain the most from the will, or who would inherit the most under Texas's intestacy laws. Intestacy is the system that every state has in order to deal with the property of people who die without a will. It usually distributes the property to the closest living relatives of the decedent, assuming they can be located.
In cases where the will doesn't name an executor, or the person named is unable to take on that role for whatever reason, any person who has some direct stake in the decedent's estate (either because they're named in the will or stand to inherit by intestacy) can petition an El Paso, Texas court to be appointed executor.
Once an executor is appointed (whether by being named in the will, or on the application of another person), they "step into the shoes" of the estate, and are expected to protect its interests to the fullest extent possible. They also are required to accurately inventory the estate's debts and assets, as well as notify potential beneficiaries.
Can a El Paso, Texas Estate Administration Attorney Help?
If you are the administrator of an estate, and are not a legal and/or financial professional, you might encounter legal or tax issues with which you are unfamiliar. An El Paso, Texas attorney would be very helpful in such a situation.