Q: My mother just passed away and I was not in town. Her lawyer told the caregiver to lock up the house and leave.
I am listed as executor of the estate on the copy of the will they gave my mother gave me but have not filed for probate yet. Am I able to go and take care of the house and keep the bills up to date or do I have to wait for probate to start?
A: You'll want to get a Collin County Probate Attorney. Since you are listed as the executor, you need to have a probate lawyer help you get the will probated. Once that's done, you are officially the executor. Once you're the executor, you can handle the estate. The good news is that probate in Collin County Texas is known for being affordable and straightforward.
A: You have no authority until a court appoints you as executor.
The short answer is that you must probate the will so that you are officially designated as the executor/executrix of the estate. For example, in PA the will needs to be presented to the Register of Wills along with other required documentation including a Petition for Grant of Letters Testamentary. Once this process is completed, you will receive Letters Testamentary that allow you to act for the estate. Until then, you have no legal power to act for the estate.
It should also be pointed out that due to the pandemic the probate procedures have been changed and made more complicated, so you really need to work an estates attorney to assist you in this process and the overall process of estate administration. For the steps normally required for probate, you could find guidelines by reading Estate & Probate Administration: Do Not Try This On Your Own at https://sjfpc.com/legal-guides/pennsylvania-probate-and-estate-administration/estate-probate-administration-do-not-try-this-on-your-own/
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