Independent Administion Generally
Independent Administrations After the Hearing
Whether the independent administration is formed pursuant to the probate of a Will or upon the consent of all heirs, the personal representative serving independently must complete important tasks to settle the affairs of the decedent.
Notices to Creditors
Within 30 days of appointment, the Independent Executor or Independent Administrator must publish a notice to all creditors in a publication circulated within the county where the estate is being administered. Within 60 days of appointment, the Independent Executor or Independent Administrator will give notice to all creditors known to have a secured claim by certified mail, return receipt requested. If a claim is filed by a creditor, the personal representative will consult his or her attorney to determine how to handle the claim.
Inventory and List of Claims
Within 90 days of appointment, the Independent Executor or Independent Administrator must prepare and file an Inventory, Appraisement, and List of Claims or an Affidavit in Lieu of Inventory with the court. This Inventory must include a sworn verification. Preparation of the Inventory is one of the most important duties of the personal representative, as it is the personal representative’s fiduciary duty to beneficiaries to notify them and the court of the assets under administration. The Inventory will be prepared by the personal representative’s attorney and will include:
- All personal property of the estate, a description of the property, and the location of the property;
- All real property that is located in Texas;
- All property owned with others and the percentage interest owned by the estate;
- The characterization of each asset as separate or community property;
- The market value of each item of property on the date of the decedent’s death; and
- All claims that the estate has against others.
Estate debts will not be listed on the Inventory. In addition, real property owned by the decedent outside the State of Texas should not be included on the Inventory. If the Inventory is not approved, the personal representative must file an Amended Inventory. If an accounting must be filed with the court, the Inventory will serve as the starting point for the accounting.
Affidavit in Lieu of Inventory
If the Independent Executor or Independent Administrator wishes to keep financial matters private, or for other valid reasons, such personal representative may file an Affidavit in Lieu of Inventory. To file such Affidavit, there must be no unpaid debts except for secured debts, taxes, and administration expenses at the time the Inventory is due including extensions. The Inventory must be prepared and complete by the time this Affidavit is filed. The Affidavit must state that all debts, except for secured debts, taxes, and administration expenses, are paid and that all beneficiaries have received a verified, full, and detailed Inventory and Appraisement. However, in the following situations, a personal representative is not required to provide an Inventory to a beneficiary unless such beneficiary has made a written request for an Inventory:
- The total value of bequests to which the beneficiary is entitled under the Will is valued at $2000 or less;
- The beneficiary has received all bequests to which he is entitled per the Will by the time the Affidavit is due; or
- The beneficiary has waived his right to receive a full, detailed Inventory in writing.
Form 706 Tax Return and Other Taxes
The Independent Executor or Independent Administrator should consult with his or her attorney to determine whether the estate is a taxable estate. Tax returns, including individual and fiduciary returns, may be required for both the decedent and the estate. Form 706 is an estate tax return, and if necessary, must be filed within 9 months of the decedent’s date of death, unless extended. In addition to the decedent’s final personal income tax return, the estate may also have to file an income tax return for the estate, or a Form 1041.