In New Braunfels, Texas, probate is a legal procedure that a court must go through before giving effect to a will. Before putting a will into effect, a court has to determine that it is valid.
As part of this procedure, the court in New Braunfels, Texas has several important responsibilities. Most importantly, it has to decide if the will is valid, and consider evidence that it is not (if any such evidence exists). The probate court then has to ensure that the property is distributed in an orderly manner, as close to the terms of the will (assuming it is valid) as possible.
Most wills name a specific person as the executor of the estate, but sometimes they don't, or the named executor is dead, out of the court's jurisdiction, or otherwise unfit to serve in this capacity. In these cases, a New Braunfels, Texas probate court has to appoint one.
The executor is the person who initiates probate proceedings. The person who stands to inherit the most from the will is usually appointed the executor, because they will have the most motivation to help the process go as quickly as possible, so they can get their inheritance.
Duties of the Executor in New Braunfels, Texas
There are quite a few things that an executor is responsible for. At the outset, they are required to file the probate action with the appropriate court. No progress, let alone any final disposition of the estate, can be made until this happens.
Also, it's the executor's job to notify all interested parties that the person who made the will has died. "Interested parties" are generally people who are named in the will, or who would inherit the estate if the decedent had died without a will.
There may be many people who are entitled to take under a testator's will, with which the testator may have fallout out of touch years ago. This can make them difficult to find, but they need to be found, nonetheless. To that end, the executor is required to make a list of everyone who might be able to inherit, whether they're named in the will, or closely related to the testator. Additionally, they have to make known all of the decedent's major assets and debts.
Because the executor serves as the living embodiment of the decedent's estate, they are solely responsible for proving the validity of the will. This is a lot of work, but because executors are usually chosen based on how much they stand to inherit from a will once its validity is confirmed, they have a good incentive to see the process to completion.
How Can A New Braunfels, Texas Lawyer Help?
Because this can be (though isn't always) a fairly complex process, it's a good idea to get a good probate lawyer in New Braunfels, Texas, especially if you find yourself being the executor of an estate, and aren't sure how to proceed.