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Texas Guidelines on Estate Administration

The State of Texas has laws and guidelines implemented to ensure that estate administration is orderly and fair for all parties. They also address the key questions regarding the management and the beneficiaries of the decedent’s property and assets. 

Who can assume the role of the administrator?

The decedent nominates the administrator or executor. The probate court will then officially appoint him/her. He/she also has the consensus of the heirs. In case the decedent did not have a will or has not nominated an administrator and or was not able to prepare a will, the court will assign one of the primary heirs to assume the duties of the executor.

It is also possible for one of the heirs to volunteer to be an administrator. He/she has to file a petition to the probate court and undergo the selection process. 

It is not necessary for the administrator to be a lawyer, but there are some restrictions. A person cannot be an estate administrator if:

  • Physically incapacitated
  • Not a resident of Texas
  • Conviction of a felony
  • The court has found him/her unsuitable

What are the primary tasks of an administrator?

The administrator should take control of the decedent’s property and assets. The remaining cash is deposited in a separate account. He/she will also settle any estate debts and taxes (realty, property, etc) related to the property. 

There are instances where a decedent’s property is exempt from the creditors based on the Texas Estate Code. The administrator should determine and also secure any property or assets applicable to this. 

The remaining assets or properties are distributed to the heirs. This is based on the deceased’s will or as determined by the court. In some cases, the administrator will also manage the provision of a family allowance to the spouse and children of minor age. The allowance should be sufficient to sustain them for one year from the date of death.

What is the Independent Administration?

Estate administration without court intervention is possible. The purpose of this is to minimize the expenses and expedite the distribution.

The court may approve independent administration; as long as an administrator has been assigned and a basic inventory of the decedent has been submitted.

Most cases of independent administration are done when there is a will. The court may also permit the execution to proceed without their intervention if all the heirs would conform. 

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Mr. Hutton is a Divorce and Custody Lawyer based out of Round Rock, TX. His background is with child psychology at Arizona State University where he received a B.S. in 2006, and he continued this by working with the Children’s Right’s Clinic at the University of Texas School of Law where he received his J.D. in 2009. Throughout his practice, he has been a strong proponent of utilizing modern technology to improve his practice and the representation of his clients. He currently is the technology chair of CAFA of Travis County and is committed to improving and modernizing the practice of law in Texas. If you have any questions you can contact him at

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