The term administrator is used to describe the person who will oversee an estate after a person’s death when there is not an executor. There can various reasons the estate does not have an executor including the deceased did not name an executor in the will, the court found the will to be invalid or the deceased did not leave a will.
You do not need to be a lawyer to be an estate administrator. But the administrator usually needs to be approved by the heirs. As an administrator, it is important to know that you are not acting on your own behalf. An administrator will represent the interests of both beneficiaries and creditors. There may be legal responsibilities that an administrator may need legal expertise from a lawyer for. The lawyer you hire will represent you in your capacity of administrator.
Who cannot be appointed as an administrator in Texas?
- Nonresidents of Texas
- Incapacitated people
- A person the court finds unsuitable
What are the responsibilities of and estate administrator?
After a court hearing in which testimony is given for the need of an estate administrator and you are named, you have 20 days to file an oath of office. You will take the oath and pay a bond if ordered. At this point you will take over possession of all the property that belonged to the deceased. You will pay debts and distribute whatever remains to heirs as outlined in a will if the deceased had prepared one.
Other duties of an estate administrator
You will need to post a notice to creditors of the estate in the local newspaper within one month and send a notice via certified mail to all secured creditors within two months. You will give notice to unsecured creditors such as credit card companies that they must make a claim within 121 days from the notice being received. An attorney can aid with these communications.
When does an estate administrator need to distribute the inheritance to the heirs?
You can be removed as an administrator if you fail to make final distributions of the estate within three years from when you were granted to be the administrator.
When can you close the estate administration?
Once all the debts against the estate have been paid and there is no need for further administration, the estate administration can be closed.
Being the administrator of an estate can be daunting for some, but for others they may find it to be a routine process. The information above is a general overview of what can be expected as an estate administrator in Texas. With guidance and assistance from an attorney during this process, you should be able to overcome any issues that may arise.