"Probate" is the formal legal process that gives recognition to a will and appoints the executor or personal representative who will administer the estate and distribute assets to the intended beneficiaries. It is a good idea to consult an attorney to determine whether a probate proceeding is necessary, whether the fiduciary must be bonded (a requirement that is often waived in the will) and what reports must be prepared.
An "Executor" is the person appointed in the will of the Decedent to carry out the desires of the Decedent as expressed in that will and to administer the estate of the Decedent. An "Executrix" is the feminine gender of that word. The word "Independent" means that the Executor may act independently of control by the Court except with respect to those matters which have already transpired, and for the filing of the required Inventory, Appraisement and List of Claims. Without having been categorized as "Independent", virtually all of your duties and actions would be subject to prior approval by the Court since a mere Executor is required to obtain advance approval for virtually every action.
Will or No Will
Regardless of a Will or not, the basic job of administration and accounting for assets must be done whether the estate is handled by an executor in probate or whether probate is avoided because all assets were transferred to a living trust during lifetime or jointly owned. In planning your estate, more important than minimizing probate is minimizing the real issues that can make probate difficult, such as lawsuits by heirs. An attorney can assist with these relationships as a non-biased third party in between feuding family members. You don't want to be on your own in this situation.
For a list of items to bring to your probate consultation meeting, click here.
Contact us (HERE) to create an administration plan as unique as your family. Have questions? Call our attorneys at (325) 232-8218 to schedule a consultation!