3 key responsibilities during Texas estate administration

On Behalf of | Feb 14, 2024 | Probate and Estate Administration

Estate administration can be a very drawn-out and costly process. Depending on the level of conflict and the value of the estate’s resources, probate proceedings could very well take more than a year to complete.

Someone who has agreed to serve as the personal representative of a Texas estate has to fulfill certain key responsibilities, and the failure to do so could put someone at risk of removal from their position or possibly even personal financial responsibility. The following are some of the most important tasks that must take place during estate administration in Texas.

Securing and maintaining estate resources

A personal representative must locate, secure and manage estate resources until the end of the probate process. They might need to change the locks at someone’s home to prevent people from removing valuable items or take smaller, high-value assets to put into a safety deposit box or similar secure facility. A personal representative also has a duty to continually maintain those resources. Family members and beneficiaries could potentially seek their removal from their position if their actions or inaction lead to a reduction in the overall value of the estate.

Filing tax returns and paying taxes

Even if someone retired years before they died and hadn’t filed an income tax return in some time, and necessary for the personal representative of their estate to file a last income tax return on their behalf. The estate may have to pay any outstanding tax obligations the decedent had. If the estate plan requires the sale of estate resources, the personal representative may also need to file an income tax return on behalf of the estate and retain funds from the sale to cover those taxes.

Notifying and repainting creditors

One of the reasons probate proceedings take so long to complete is that the personal representative needs to send formal written notice to creditors and give them an opportunity to file claims in probate court. Most creditors have the right to demand repayment with the state resources even if someone’s debts might consume all of the property they owned. Mistakes when handling taxes and debts could lead to personal liability for the representative of the estate.

Seeking legal guidance while serving as the personal representative of an estate can help someone ensure they fulfill their responsibilities without making any potentially costly mistakes.