When a friend or loved one names you as the executor in their will, you know that you will have a job to do after that person passes away. Savvy executors, however, know that they may begin some preparation prior to the person’s death to make probate go more quickly and smoothly.

The single most important thing an executor can do to make probate run smoothly is to know where the original will is located. In Texas, a copy of a will may be probated, but it is an expense and hassle that should be avoided if possible. Additionally, in Texas, estate administration may be independent or dependent. Executors should determine if the will allows for independent administration or if the executor must seek court approval to pay debts as well as to sell and distribute assets. Knowing the answer to this question will help the executor have an idea of how much time will be involved in the process.

Additionally, executors may wish to determine the parties who will be involved in probate as well as those who could assist with distributing assets. An executor must certainly determine the heirs who will receive the individual’s property, but he or she is also well-served by knowing the individual’s advisors – such as his or her CPA, financial advisor or attorney. These advisors can provide guidance with regard to the individual’s assets, and whether they have beneficiary designations that may remove those assets from the probate estate.

But perhaps the most important reason to begin preparation sooner rather than later is the simple fact that the individual is still alive to clarify any questions or provide additional information. If the individual has left a child out of the will, was that done intentionally, or was it an oversight? Has he or she left any direction regarding the disposition of remains, such as cremation or burial? Does the person’s spouse or loved ones know how the individual plans to dispose of his assets? Will the plan likely result in family disagreements or difficulties?

An executor’s job is extremely important, but may be made easier by advance preparation.

Executors may read additional tips here: https://www.investopedia.com/articles/retirement/11/executors-checklist-7-things-before-they-die.asp