Wills & Guardianship: 214.227.6400
9400 N. Central Expy., Ste. 1308
Dallas, Texas 75231
When can the executor distribute the assets of the estate? In an independent administration, there is no set time requirement that the executor must administer the assets. As soon as the executor is ready, he or she can distribute the assets of the estate to the creditors and beneficiaries of the estate. Keep in mind, however, that if an unknown creditor surfaces, the executor will have to go hat-in-hand to the beneficiaries and ask for property back to satisfy the claim. Therefore a prudent executor will distribute the assets of the estate only after the payment of all known claims and taxes.
Though not required in an Independent Administration, it is a good idea for the executor or administrator to prepare an accounting of his or her actions as the personal representative of the Estate. An accounting details the activity in the Estate, starting from the Inventory and ending at the present day. The executor or administrator should also get a notarized Receipt and Release from each of the heirs that are entitled to a share of the Estate. An example of a Receipt and Release is provided below:
Example Cover Letter and Receipt and Release
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In a dependent administration, the administrator must file a final account in which he or she details the activity in the estate and wherein the administrator asks for the court's permission to distribute the estate. Failure to abide by this rule could result in the court removing the administrator and appointing a successor whose first job will be to bring a surcharge action against the administrator.
Sometimes the will has an explicit direction to sell property and divide the proceeds. This is usually a good idea because shared ownership in an estate is problematic. If all of the beneficiaries want to keep the property, get that agreement in writing.