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Naming an executor is a critical step in estate planning, as this individual or corporation will administer your property after your death. This is no small task – especially for larger or more complex estate.

Like other states, Texas has rules around who can serve as an executor in the state. Keep reading to learn more about Texas executors, what they do, and who can serve as one.

What is an executor?

An executor is a person (or corporation) appointed by the decedent to administer their estate after death. If the decedent had a will, the executor would likely be named in that document.  However, if the decedent didn’t have a will – or didn’t otherwise appoint an executor – then the court will appoint one.

Texas executors have a legal fiduciary responsibility to the deceased, the estate, and the beneficiaries of the state, acting at all times with honesty and impartiality. In other words, the executor must act in the deceased’s and the beneficiaries’ best interests. 

What do Texas executors do?

Like in other states, Texas executors are involved in all aspects of estate administration, including paying debts and distributing property to beneficiaries. 

Specifically, Texas executors:

  • Give notice of the decedent’s death to creditors and beneficiaries
  • Identify and value the decedent’s assets
  • Pay all of the debts of the decedent
  • Prepare any outstanding tax returns
  • Distribute the decedent’s assets in accordance with the will’s instructions

The executor’s duties start at the time of the decedent’s death and continue until the estate is fully distributed. Executors often receive fair compensation for their administration of the estate.

Who can serve as a Texas executor?

In Texas, to serve as an executor, the individual must:

  • Be at least 18 years old
  • Not be determined to be incapacitated (in other words, of sound mind)
  • Not be convicted of a state or federal felony (unless the individual has been pardoned with all rights restored)
  • Not have any conflict of interest 

Typically, executors are spouses, adult children, or another family member. However, if you have a large or complex trust and don’t trust an individual to administer it, appointing a corporate executor may be your best choice.

If the executor is not a Texas resident, the appointed executor will need to appoint a “resident agent” in Texas who can accept any of the estate’s legal papers. 

A corporation may be a Texas executor if it is authorized to act as a Texas fiduciary.
To determine whether you should appoint an individual or corporate executor, it’s best to seek advice from an experienced Texas estate planning attorney. At Norris & Weber, our experienced and compassionate attorneys are dedicated to protecting your family’s future. If you are facing difficult matters related to estate administration, you can rely on our firm to defend your best interests and help make this challenging time go as smoothly as possible. Our attorneys share over 85 years of experience and are ready to put their knowledge on your side.