The Law Offices of Marilyn J. Belew, P.C.
Decatur Family Law And Personal Injury Attorney
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Decatur Texas Probate Law Blog

Tips for finding a decedent's assets for probate administration

Acting as the executor of a loved one's estate is not an easy task. Even steps that may seem simple can present complications depending on the circumstances. For instance, during probate administration, it is the duty of the executor to find all of the decedent's assets so that the property can be put to use in paying necessary expenses and so that it can be properly distributed when that time comes. Of course, many Texas executors may wonder how to find all of the assets.

Certainly, if a loved one was not forthcoming with information about his or her belongings and had numerous accounts, an executor may not know where to start looking for property. If a person is looking to determine whether a loved one held any real estate, it may help to check the county assessor's website. This site may allow the executor to search for the decedent's name to determine whether any real estate was owned in the area.

The challenge of probate administration falls to executors

When settling the Texas estate of a recently deceased individual, someone needs to be in charge. There are many duties and obligations to address during probate administration, and it is important that those activities are handled correctly. This responsibility falls to the executor of the estate.

Commonly, an executor is a family member, attorney or financial professional who oversees the completion of probate. Before his or her passing, the testator has the ability to name a person to this position in the will. If the testator does not make this appointment, the court will consider available options and appoint a representative, which often falls to the surviving spouse or an adult child. The individual chosen must be ready to tackle the difficult process that is probate.

Many want guardianships strengthened in Texas

When most people want to take control of their elderly loved ones' affairs, it is out of a desire to protect their vulnerable family members from exploitation. It is not unusual for individuals to seek guardianships in order to legally obtain the ability to control these affairs. However, some parties worry that guardians are not doing enough.

There are concerns that numerous guardianship cases in Texas are not being handled properly. In fact, 41 percent of approximately 30,000 guardianship files that recently underwent review were found to be out of compliance. The state already has strong policies in place when it comes to appointing guardians, such as guardianship training, certifications and registration. The state also conducts thorough criminal history checks for proposed guardians.

Addressing a home during probate administration

After the death of a loved one, there are often many assets that need addressing. In many cases, the decedent will have created estate planning documents that indicate how the assets should be distributed. Still, it is likely that probate administration will be needed before the property can be distributed or sold.

In particular, Texas residents may wonder how to handle an inherited house. This issue can be particularly tricky because individuals often do not know what steps need taking before they can place a deceased person's home for sale. If the property deed or title was placed into a trust then passed directly to a person, it is likely that probate or other legal proceedings are not necessary before possession can be taken and the property sold.

Who is in charge of probate administration?

When the estate of a deceased Texas resident needs to be settled, a person needs to be put in charge of handling the tasks involved with that settlement. Typically, this occurs through probate administration, and the person in charge is commonly known as the executor. However, if the deceased individual did not choose an executor, the court may need to appoint a personal representative.

A personal representative carries out the same duties as an executor, and the terms are often used interchangeably. He or she has a fiduciary duty to the estate, meaning that the representative must act in the estate's best interests. Additionally, the personal representative does not have to be a single person. The court could choose to appoint a financial institution to oversee the final affairs or some other entity.

Guardians can request "granny cams" in Texas nursing homes

Earlier this month, Louisiana became the fifth state to adopt "granny cam" laws in skilled nursing facilities. It follows similar laws in Illinois, New Mexico, Oklahoma, Washington and Texas.

After the influx of reports of elder abuse in recent years, guardians and other family members have sought a way to increase protection and accountability for their loved ones. Data suggests around 5 million residents suffer abuse in nursing homes each year.

Vulnerabilities, risks of abuse may warrant guardianships

Most Decatur adults love that they still have their parents, grandparents or possibly even great-grandparents around. Numerous people lose their elderly loved ones at young ages, and such a loss can be difficult at any age. Of course, adults also know that older individuals can begin to experience difficulties handling their own affairs, and it may put them at risk. In some cases, seeking guardianships may be necessary.

It is an unfortunate reality that elder abuse takes place at a disturbing rate. In addition to facing physical abuse and neglect, many individuals are also taken advantage of financially. Because mental decline often affects elderly people, it is possible for these individuals to make financial decisions that can cause significant harm without realizing what they have done.

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The Law Offices of Marilyn J. Belew, P.C.
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Decatur, TX 76234

Phone: 940-539-9262
Fax: 940-627-6408
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