One of the biggest estate planning mistakes that any Texas resident could make is to not create a plan at all. Unfortunately, far too many people choose not to create an estate plan or do not start the process soon enough. As a result, surviving loved ones often have to try to figure out how to work through probate without instructions from the decedent.
An important part of probate is having someone to see the estate through the process. Often, individuals name their desired executor in their will, but if your loved one did not create a will, the court will decide who will represent the estate. If you want to act as the personal representative, you may wonder how you can throw your hat into the ring.
How does the court decide?
State laws typically play a part in the decision of who will act as the executor when no will exists. Laws indicate a priority order in which the court commonly considers potential candidates. Of course, some people who have a high priority may not want to take on the role. If the surviving loved ones can agree on who will take on the role, the chosen person can file a petition with the court. If the family cannot agree, the court will decide.
If the family is in agreement that you should act as the executor, you will need for anyone who had a higher priority to provide a written waiver that he or she did not want the position. However, it is important to remember that you cannot take this role if the court has ever convicted you of a felony or if you do not reside in the state.
Filing your petition
If you take on the role of executor, you will need to file the appropriate petitions with the court to get the administration process underway. You need to provide a copy of the death certificate, estimate the value of the estate, pay any associated fees, and indicate the names and addresses of the heirs.
If you feel well-suited to act as the representative for an estate, many loved ones may feel relieved that you volunteered. Of course, it is important that you complete every step of the probate process correctly, so you may want to make sure that you have the right help when working through the proceedings.