In Smith County, 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 decide that it is legitimate.
As part of this procedure, the court in Smith County, Texas has various important responsibilities. Most especially, 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 guarantee 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 particular person as the executor of the estate, but sometimes they don't, or the named executor is deceased, out of the court's jurisdiction, or otherwise unsuited to serve in this capacity. In these situations, a Smith County, Texas probate court has to assign one.
Because the executor is responsible for truly initiating probate proceedings and seeing them to finalization, the person chosen for this role is often the one who stands to inherit the most from the will - giving them an incentive to put in the necessary time and effort.
Duties of the Executor in Smith County, Texas
The executor has various duties concerning the will. First of all, they have to actually initiate the probate hearings with the court, and this procedure has to be finalized before the will takes effect.
Additionally, it's the executor's job to notify all affected parties that the person who made the will has died. "Interested parties" are usually people who are named in the will, or who would inherit the estate if the decedent had died without a will.
Because people who stand to inherit from the testator may be scattered around the country, or even the world, contacting them is sometimes challenging. One of the responsibilities of the executor is to collect a list of everyone who is entitled to inherit from the decedent, so attempts to contact them can be made. They additionally have to account for all the testator's debts and assets.
Moreover, the executor is obliged to take a leading role in establishing the validity of the will. The executor obviously has an incentive to see the process through, since they cannot inherit until probate is complete.
How Can A Smith County, Texas Lawyer Help?
Because of the difficulties inherent in the probate process, it is a good idea to hire an efficient Smith County, Texas probate lawyer, particularly for the executors of estates.