Though many people may think they should receive their inheritances quickly after a loved one’s death, distribution to heirs and beneficiaries is not the top priority. In fact, when it comes to completing the probate process for a remaining estate, distribution to beneficiaries is the last step. Some Texas residents may think this is unfair, but there are reasons for the order in which settling estate occurs.
The executor of the estate has the obligation of handling any remaining financial affairs that the decedent left behind. These obligations include paying remaining taxes and outstanding bills. Because taxes and certain creditors take the highest priority, the executor must handle this step before distributing assets to ensure that there are enough estate funds to cover the remaining balances. An early distribution could cause complications and leave the executor personally responsible for paying any remaining balances.
After these financial responsibilities and other obligations have been handled, the executor can distribute assets to beneficiaries. Still, it may be important for individuals who are anticipating a bequest to remember that it can take months or longer for the distribution to take place. Probate can be a long process, and complex assets or conflict could cause further delays.
Being patient may not be every person’s strong suit, but it may be necessary to try to be as patient as possible while the probate process is underway. Of course, if Texas residents believe that the executor of the estate is causing unnecessary delays or otherwise not handling his or her duties correctly, it may be worthwhile to address that concern. Speaking with attorneys knowledgeable in this area of law may be useful.