Who is the Executor or Administrator?

Property needs to be administered and distributed after a person passes away in The Woodlands. Many families keep this process private with a Woodlands Living Trust; however, if your family member did not take the proper steps to avoid the Montgomery County Probate Court watching over the administration of his or her estate then your Woodlands Probate Attorney must follow the court’s rules to administer the estate.

The person in charge of the estate receives all their legal authority from a document issued by the Montgomery County Probate Court. This document is called “Letters Testamentary” for an Executor appointed in a Will and “Letters of Administration” when the estate is intestate. Without the Letters Testamentary document the Executor named in a Will has no legal authority.

Who will the probate court issue the necessary documents to? The Court will issue letters testamentary or of administration to persons who are qualified to act, in the following order:

  1. To the person named as executor in the will of the deceased.
  2. To the surviving husband or wife.
  3. To the principal devisee or legatee of the testator.
  4. To any devisee or legatee of the testator.
  5. To the next of kin of the deceased, the nearest in order of descent first, and so on, and next of kin includes a person and his descendants who legally adopted the deceased or who have been legally adopted by the deceased.
  6. To a creditor of the deceased.
  7. To any person of good character residing in the county who applies therefor.
  8. To any other person not disqualified under the following Section. When applicants are equally entitled, letters shall be granted to the applicant who, in the judgment of the court, is most likely to administer the estate advantageously, or they may be granted to any two or more of such applicants.

That little word in the beginning “qualified” can be a big deal and has led to many probate disputes over the years. We will review how courts have interpreted the “qualified” requirement at a later time.

Your Woodlands Probate Attorney can review your options to request appointment as Executor or Administrator of an Estate in The Woodlands if you fit in to any of the categories described above.