Do You Need an Independent Executor to Handle Probate?

Do You Need an Independent Executor to Handle Probate?

An independent executor is tasked with handling probate court proceedings. It is possible to change or remove this person if necessary.

Choosing an independent executor is an important task in estate planning. Designated in your will, this person conveys your wishes to the probate court and helps to settle your estate. Once an independent executor has been named, they still need to be officially appointed by the court. In cases in which there are disputes or questions regarding their capability for the task, an independent executor can be removed or changed.

The Role of an Independent Executor

When creating a will, you will need to provide an inventory of all of your assets and designate beneficiaries. You will also need to name an independent executor. Under the Texas Estates Code, this person acts as the executor of your estate in probate court proceedings. They are responsible for important tasks, which include settling any outstanding debts, filing final taxes for your estate, dealing with any disputes that arise, and making distributions among your heirs.

Many people pick their spouse, domestic partner, or someone else close to them to act as their independent executor. Unfortunately, these people will likely still be grieving your death and may not have the time or skills needed to fulfil this position. Qualities you should look for in an independent executor include:

  • Someone you can trust to act on your wishes;
  • Someone with familiarity of your financial situation;
  • Someone with the time to attend probate court proceedings, although in most cases that only includes one appearance;
  • Someone with the skills needed to attend to creditors, complete final tax returns, and perform other complex tasks, depending on the size of your estate.

When You Need to Change or Remove Your Independent Executor

Relationships can change over the years. There are situations in which you may wish to change the independent executor you selected. This can be done by having our estate planning attorneys legally update your will in our office. In cases in which surviving loved ones wish to change or remove the independent executor of the estate after someone passes, this must be done through the Brazoria County Probate Court.

One of the first steps in being an independent executor is to be formally appointed to the position by the court. The family of the deceased may hire an attorney to dispute the appointment. This can happen for a variety of reasons:

  • They are ill equipped to handle the responsibility of the position;
  • They have a conflict of interest preventing them from carrying out their duties;
  • They are guilty of behavior that puts the property and assets of the estate in jeopardy.

An independent executor may also be removed at any time during probate court proceedings for any of the above or other causes.

Contact Our Brazoria County Estate Planning Attorneys

At the Cordoba Law Firm, PLLC, we provide the trusted legal representation needed to resolve disputes involving personal representatives and probate court proceedings. Call or contact our Brazoria County estate planning attorneys online and request a consultation today.