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The boundaries of an executor

On Behalf of | Jan 17, 2023 | Estate Planning

During the state administration process, executors in Texas manage the wishes outlined in the estate plan. While they are in charge of a wide range of responsibilities, they have specific duties. Under no circumstances can they fulfill the following:

Taking early action

There is an appropriate order for the administration of an estate. Many executors are aware of their named role before the testator passes away. That doesn’t mean they can take any actions before the testator passes. In fact, even after the person passes, the executor must gain court approval before accessing any of the deceased’s assets.

Signing the decedent’s documents

Sometimes, a person passes away and leaves behind a will they never signed. It doesn’t matter if an executor believes that the deceased meant to sign a document. If the document was not signed, the executor cannot sign it in their place. If there is no signed will at all, then state laws dictate what happens with the estate, and its assets, from there.

Change the will

As described above, the executor’s key role is to carry out the decedent’s intent as written. An executor is not allowed to make changes to that plan. They cannot name new beneficiaries, change what someone inherits, or change any of the terms in the will.

Early on, an estate may be stuck in the probate process. During that time an executor may be holding onto the estate assets. Part of their job is to appropriately manage the assets in the best interest of the beneficiary until they take control of their inheritance. While this may take a while, the executor needs to stick to the guidelines in the will. Deviations can cause legal issues and possibly be considered misappropriation of funds.

Depending on the complexity of the estate plan, executors can have a big role to fill. It’s important that they fulfill their fiduciary duty accordingly.