Q: I have received a consent to independent administration. Should I sign?
How long does the independent administrator have to distribute proceeds to heirs?
A: You should ascertain with your own attorney what Texas' Independent Administration statute allows. In my state of Louisiana, it is generally limited to selling estate property without the consent of the judge. It does not affect the proceeds of the sale, which would be distributable to the legatees (heirs) under the law.
However, Texas may allow certain other liberalities to an Independent Administrator.
Unless you implicitly trust the person asking that you give your consent to independent administration, I would not sign and talk to your attorney. You may be able to get certain concessions (for example, a promise to make early distributions of cash on hand) in exchange.
A: In Texas, estates are administered as either independent or dependent administration. A dependent administration requires a much much greater level of court oversight and approval for anything the executor wants to do. Unless the will provides for independent administration, or if the estate beneficiaries consent to independent administration (your issue), the court will require dependent administration.
Whether you should sign or not depends on whether you trust the executor. Agreeing to independent administration will generally lower court and lawyer fees, but at the expense of oversight by the probate court. A Texas attorney can advise you on whether agreeing to independent administration is advisable in your particular situation.
There is no due date, per se, when the executor must make a distribution to the beneficiaries. You should know that creditors (as a general rule) have 4 years after opening probate to come forward with a claim against the estate. A particularly cautious executor may justify holding back distributions to beneficiaries until the statute of limitations period runs. Beneficiaries do have some rights if the executor isn't distributing gifts under the will promptly - they may request an accounting of estate activity 15 months after the estate is opened, and can petition the court to require the executor to distribute.
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