As you prepare your estate plan, you probably have strong feelings about what should happen to your assets after your death. Because you will not be around to see your plan through, it is essential that you appoint an executor to carry out your wishes.
Choosing the right executor is important, as this person has many responsibilities according to Texas law.
Identifying your assets
Your executor must take an inventory of your assets, including:
- Personal property
- Anything with a title, such as a car or a house
- Bank accounts
- Investment accounts
If you have property in another state, your executor may need to initiate probate proceedings in that state as well.
Distributing your assets
The executor must contact heirs and beneficiaries to distribute your assets as outlined in your will. If you die intestate, without a will, or if your will does not provide instructions for a certain asset, state law determines how your executor should distribute the property.
Handling your financial obligations
It is the executor’s duty to notify your creditors that you are dead. This does not mean, however, that your debts will go away. If you owe debt at the time of your death, your executor should verify the validity of the debt and pay it from your estate. He or she should also cancel your credit cards.
If you receive Social Security benefits, your executor must contact the SSA to discontinue payments.
The executor’s job is not easy, but it is an important part of your estate plan. Choose a person you trust to carry out the executor’s responsibilities thoroughly.