After you pass away, your will or the probate court designates an individual to manage your estate. The individual who fulfills this role is called the executor or administrator. If you create a will, you are likely to designate a trusted individual to carry out your last wishes. If you die without a will, the probate court takes on the task of designating an executor.
Upon death, an individual is referred to as a “decedent.” The executor of an estate is responsible for identifying and collecting the decedent’s assets and paying the decedent’s debts. Additionally, the executor must distribute the remaining estate according to the decedent’s will or, if no will exists, according to Texas intestacy laws.
Generally, individuals who create a will (testators) select a trusted family member to function as the executor after the testator passes away. Often, this is a spouse or adult child. You should take into account an individual’s capacity to handle the responsibilities of an executor, especially at a time when the individual may be grieving.
Under Texas law, an individual executor must be at least 18 years of age. Texas law also allows testators to designate a business entity such as a bank or law firm to act as an executor. In addition to the individual age requirement, an executor must qualify to act as an executor under Texas law. In Texas, certain individuals and entities are legally disqualified from serving as estate executors. Incapacitated individuals, convicted felons, nonresidents of Texas (unless an in-state agent is appointed), and corporations not authorized to be fiduciaries in Texas are disqualified from acting as executors. Additionally, a court may disqualify any individual or entity it deems “unsuitable” to act as executor.
An experienced San Antonio wills attorney can work to make sure your end-of-life wishes are carried out.