Mary’s Mother Made Her the Executor in Her Will, What Does This Mean?

Leslie Barrows
 | Published: 
April 26, 2022
 | Category: 
Estate Planning

Being an Executor in a Will in Texas, Mary’s Rights and Responsibilities

Mary just learned at Easter that she was named the executor and beneficiary of her mother’s estate. What does she need to do to understand her rights and responsibilities in Texas? Mary and her mother both live in Southlake and Mary’s mother Pearl named her the executor of her estate when she passes. Mary’s older brother and sister live in Houston and Florida, respectively. Ms. Pearl explained to her children that she wants Mary to take care of everything because she lives right in town and knows all the right people to get things done if need be.

Mary’s older brother Jim and sister Jane seem okay with Mary being the executor, so long as she knows what she is doing, and they offered to help if Mary needs any assistance. Ms. Pearl did a great thing by appointing one of her children as the named executor and then told the children so they could accept the situation while all are alive, well, and able to discuss any questions and concerns. Too often people don’t disclose changes or announcements in estate planning as if it should be some big surprise, and surprises, after someone has passed, are often met with grief and emotion, not logic and reason.

What Mary doesn’t know is that her mother Pearl went to the Barrows Firm in Southlake for estate planning in Texas, and everything has been figured out so that certain accounts automatically transfer over, insurance policies will pay the named beneficiaries, and there are properly executed power of attorney documents and directives in place covering everything from routine hospital visits to the last days of Pearl’s life and the funeral and services she has planned for the family to celebrate her life. Pearl is a giving and loving mother, and it means the world to her to say goodbye to her family and friends in the classic way she only knows how.

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How Does Estate Planning Work, What Does Mary Need to Know?

Mary and her mother talked about the process of what happens to everything when someone dies, both with a will and without one, because the state takes over and distributes everything by state law. Pearl and Mary talked about the will and how any houses, vehicles, boats, and aircraft will be sold or distributed among the family. Likewise, the financial accounts and investments will be valued and prepared for sale, transfer, and distribution as the will directs.

The difficult talks Mary and her mother had involved the Healthcare Power of Attorney and Directives. Mother and youngest daughter discussing healthcare decisions, whether to resuscitate, and how death and burial are to be handled are surreal to Mary, and the responsibilities, while seemingly overwhelmingly, are at least known and they can talk about how they feel about everything, making sure everyone is okay and has good peace of mind.

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What Are the Rights and Responsibilities of the Executor?

Mary will be an executor of a Texas estate and will have certain rights and responsibilities as outlined in the Texas Estates Code. Mary is an independent estate administrator, meaning she will not require legal oversight, and the other children know and agree. Mary and her siblings understand that Mary has a fiduciary duty to legally carry out all the interests of their mother, as written in her will and estate planning documents. The will includes an appointment of an attorney at the Barrows Firm to assist Mary and appear in Probate Court to represent Mary in carrying out her legal duties.

Mary is an excellent recordkeeper and she is very detail-oriented, and much to the delight of her siblings, reviewing Mary’s records of property and asset inventories should be without concern. Mary will manage the separate estate bank account while she pays estate debts and distributes assets to heirs as laid out in the will. Mary will also need to hire and manage financial representatives who can advise about what best to do with her mother’s investments and business interests. Mary will give frequent reports to others involved, as required in the will, and for which Mary will be compensated.

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Common Jobs the Executor Undertakes During the Probate of an Estate

In addition to marshaling assets, paying liabilities, and issuing distributions, Mary also must be aware of the tax consequences of everything she is doing along the way. The estate administration tax advisors are helpful to executors who are responsible for getting the most out of investments when they are ordered to be sold and collected for distribution.

Real estate, homes, cars, boats, and valuable personal property can be the greatest challenge to an estate executor. Especially if a home needs to be updated and listed for sale, the work and decision-making can be challenging. What if, for example, the house is paid for, but equity needs to be drawn out to upgrade the house to market standards for sale?

What Does a Probate Attorney Do? Mary Wants to Know Who Will Be Involved When the Time Comes

Attorney Leslie Barrows and her team at the Barrows Firm in Southlake are often hired to represent the executor in a will in Texas, where there are high dollar problems and details in need of specific attention. From opening the estate to filing the necessary paperwork and then closing the estate when everything is done, Mary will be happy if she uses the attorneys at the Barrows Firm to assist her in estate administration, especially because the same firm created the estate planning documents. This means everyone is already acquainted in searching for an estate administration attorney for probate of the estate is one less thing Mary will have to do.

Why Inheritance Tax and Property Taxes are Issues That Matter to Many Texas Families Making Estate Planning Choices

Mentioning that Mary’s sister Jane lives in Florida, it was considered an option for Pearl to sell the family home in Southlake and relocate to Florida for her retirement years. However, Pearl considered the long-term implications of her decisions, including the important tax consequences her children would be facing when she passes. One of the considerations to stay in Texas was the lack of inheritance tax Ms. Pearl’s children would pay if such a tax were to apply in another state.

Property taxes were also another concern for Ms. Pearl, who while remaining in her Southlake home, was thankfully paying fixed property taxes. Homesteaded properties occupied by seniors enjoy a frozen property tax rate when they reach 65 years of age. And while the taxes are high, the home in which Pearl resides is a smaller ranch, built years ago, and but for the taxes, the home and property are outright owned.

Like Mary and Her Siblings, Estate Executors and Family Members Benefit from Knowing and Talking About Estate Planning, Death, and Taxes while Everyone is Alive and Well. For Help with Estate Planning Use the Barrows Firm in Southlake (817) 481-1583