Texas Wills and Probate Law
EXEMPTIONS, ALLOWANCES AND CLAIMS IN INDEPENDENT ADMINISTRATION
TEXAS ESTATES CODE TITLE 2. SUBTITLE I. CHAPTER 403.
EXEMPTIONS AND ALLOWANCES
§ 403.001. SETTING ASIDE EXEMPT PROPERTY AND ALLOWANCES.
The independent executor shall set aside and deliver to those entitled exempt property and allowances for support, and allowances in lieu of exempt property, as prescribed in this title, to the same extent and result as if the independent executor's actions had been accomplished in, and under orders of, the court.
§ 403.051. DUTY OF INDEPENDENT EXECUTOR. '
(a) An independent executor, in the administration of an estate, independently of and without application to, or any action in or by the court:
(1) shall give the notices required under §§ 308.051 and 308.053;
(2) may give the notice to an unsecured creditor with a claim for money permitted under § 308.054 and bar a claim under § 403.055; and
(3) may approve or reject any claim, or take no action on a claim, and shall classify and pay claims approved or established by suit against the estate in the same order of priority, classification, and proration prescribed in this title.
(b) To be effective, the notice prescribed under Subsection (a)(2) must include, in addition to the other information required by § 308.054, a statement that a claim may be effectively presented by only one of the methods prescribed by this subchapter.
§ 403.052. SECURED CLAIMS FOR MONEY.
Within six months after the date letters are granted or within four months after the date notice is received under § 308.053, whichever is later, a creditor with a claim for money secured by property of the estate must give notice to the independent executor of the creditor's election to have the creditor's claim approved as a matured secured claim to be paid in due course of administration. In addition to giving the notice within this period, a creditor whose claim is secured by real property shall record a notice of the creditor's election under this section in the deed records of the county in which the real property is located. If no election to be a matured secured creditor is made, or the election is made, but not within the prescribed period, or is made within the prescribed period but the creditor has a lien against real property and fails to record notice of the claim in the deed records as required within the prescribed period, the claim shall be a preferred debt and lien against the specific property securing the indebtedness and shall be paid according to the terms of the contract that secured the lien, and the claim may not be asserted against other assets of the estate. The independent executor may pay the claim before maturity if it is determined to be in the best interest of the estate to do so.
§ 403.053. MATURED SECURED CLAIMS.
(a) A claim approved as a matured secured claim under § 403.052 remains secured by any lien or security interest against the specific property securing payment of the claim but subordinated to the payment from the property of claims having a higher classification under § 355.102. However, the secured creditor:
(1) is not entitled to exercise any remedies in a manner that prevents the payment of the higher priority claims and allowances; and
(2) during the administration of the estate, is not entitled to exercise any contractual collection rights, including the power to foreclose, without either the prior written approval of the independent executor or court approval.
(b) Subsection (a) may not be construed to suspend or otherwise prevent a creditor with a matured secured claim from seeking judicial relief of any kind or from executing any judgment against an independent executor. Except with respect to real property, any third party acting in good faith may obtain good title with respect to an estate asset acquired through a secured creditor's extrajudicial collection rights, without regard to whether the creditor had the right to collect the asset or whether the creditor acted improperly in exercising those rights during an estate administration due to having elected matured secured status.
(c) If a claim approved or established by suit as a matured secured claim is secured by property passing to one or more devisees in accordance with Subchapter G, Chapter 255, the independent executor shall collect from the devisees the amount of the debt and pay that amount to the claimant or shall sell the property and pay out of the sale proceeds the claim and associated expenses of sale consistent with the provisions of §§ 355.153(b), (c), (d), and (e) applicable to court supervised administrations.
§ 403.054. PREFERRED DEBT AND LIEN CLAIMS.
During an independent administration, a secured creditor whose claim is a preferred debt and lien against property securing the indebtedness under § 403.052 is free to exercise any judicial or extrajudicial collection rights, including the right to foreclosure and execution; provided, however, that the creditor does not have the right to conduct a nonjudicial foreclosure sale within six months after letters are granted.
§ 403.055. CERTAIN UNSECURED CLAIMS; BARRING OF CLAIMS.
An unsecured creditor who has a claim for money against an estate and who receives a notice under § 308.054 shall give to the independent executor notice of the nature and amount of the claim before the 121st day after the date the notice is received or the claim is barred.
§ 403.056. NOTICES REQUIRED BY CREDITORS.
(a) Notice to the independent executor required by §§ 403.052 and 403.055 must be contained in:
(1) a written instrument that complies with § 355.004 and is hand-delivered with proof of receipt, or mailed by certified mail, return receipt requested with proof of receipt, to the independent executor or the executor's attorney;
(2) a pleading filed in a lawsuit with respect to the claim; or
(3) a written instrument that complies with § 355.004 or a pleading filed in the court in which the administration of the estate is pending.
(b) This section does not exempt a creditor who elects matured secured status from the filing requirements of § 403.052, to the extent those requirements are applicable.
§ 403.057. STATUTE OF LIMITATIONS.
Except as otherwise provided by § 16.062, Civil Practice and Remedies Code, the running of the statute of limitations shall be tolled only by a written approval of a claim signed by an independent executor, a pleading filed in a suit pending at the time of the decedent's death, or a suit brought by the creditor against the independent executor. In particular, the presentation of a statement or claim, or a notice with respect to a claim, to an independent executor does not toll the running of the statute of limitations with respect to that claim.
§ 403.058. OTHER CLAIM PROCEDURES GENERALLY DO NOT APPLY.
Except as otherwise provided by this subchapter, the procedural provisions of this title governing creditor claims in supervised administrations do not apply to independent administrations. By way of example, but not as a limitation:
(1) §§ 355.064 and 355.066 do not apply to independent administrations, and consequently a creditor's claim may not be barred solely because the creditor failed to file a suit not later than the 90th day after the date an independent executor rejected the claim or with respect to a claim for which the independent executor takes no action; and
(2) §§ 355.156, 355.157, 355.158, 355.159, and 355.160 do not apply to independent administrations.
§ 403.0585. LIABILITY OF INDEPENDENT EXECUTOR FOR PAYMENT OF A CLAIM.
An independent executor, in the administration of an estate, may pay at any time and without personal liability a claim for money against the estate to the extent approved and classified by the independent executor if:
(1) the claim is not barred by limitations; and
(2) at the time of payment, the independent executor reasonably believes the estate will have sufficient assets to pay all claims against the estate.
§ 403.059. ENFORCEMENT OF CLAIMS BY SUIT.
Any person having a debt or claim against the estate may enforce the payment of the same by suit against the independent executor; and, when judgment is recovered against the independent executor, the execution shall run against the estate of the decedent in the possession of the independent executor that is subject to the debt. The independent executor shall not be required to plead to any suit brought against the executor for money until after six months after the date that an independent administration was created and the order appointing the executor was entered by the probate court.
§ 403.060. REQUIRING HEIRS TO GIVE BOND.
When an independent administration is created and the order appointing an independent executor is entered by the probate court, any person having a debt against the estate may, by written complaint filed in the probate court in which the order was entered, cause all distributees of the estate, heirs at law, and other persons entitled to any portion of the estate under the will, if any, to be cited by personal service to appear before the court and execute a bond for an amount equal to the amount of the creditor's claim or the full value of the estate, as shown by the inventory and list of claims, whichever is smaller. The bond must be payable to the judge, and the judge's successors, and be approved by the judge, and conditioned that all obligors shall pay all debts that shall be established against the estate in the manner provided by law. On the return of the citation served, unless a person so entitled to any portion of the estate, or some of them, or some other person for them, shall execute the bond to the satisfaction of the probate court, the estate shall be administered and settled under the direction of the probate court as other estates are required to be settled. If the bond is executed and approved, the independent administration shall proceed. Creditors of the estate may sue on the bond, and shall be entitled to judgment on the bond for the amount of their debt, or they may have their action against those in possession of the estate.