The loss of a loved one is an especially difficult time and the legal matters that arise should be handled with sensitivity and care. At The Larson Law Office, we pride ourselves in giving clients experienced and personalized service, making the probate process as efficient as possible. Contact our Houston probate attorneys today for a complimentary consultation.
The Probate Process: How to Probate a Will in Texas
The first step to probating an estate is to determine whether there is a Will and where it is located. If there is no Will, the heirs of the Decedent will inherit according to Texas intestacy laws.
Probate If the Decedent Died with a Valid Will
After locating the Will, the next step is filing it with the court in the county in which the Decedent lived. The probate court then posts a required two week notice of the Will filing for any potential contests. After the mandatory time period has passed, the probate court will then determine whether or not the Will is valid. This validation process takes place in a hearing in probate court where the jurisdiction of the court is also determined.
If the probate court determines that the Will is valid and an executor is named in the Will, the court will likely issue letters testamentary and order an independent administration of the estate by the named executor. In independent administration, the executor has broad powers to administer the estate without seeking court approval for every transaction. This includes:
Preparing an inventory of the estate of the estate for the court
Notifying the creditors of the estate
Paying the estate’s debts and taxes
Distributing the property of the estate in accordance with the Will’s instructions
Preparing a final accounting for the probate
Muniment of Title Probate in Texas
Sometimes there are situations where there is a valid Will, but all the estate’s debts have been paid and only title to real property needs to be transferred. If there are no other complicating issues needing administration by a probate court, the Will can be probated. This means that once the court has entered the order, it can be filed directly with the county property records to change title of the real property to the beneficiaries under the Will.
This is often the fastest, most economical way to probate a will in Texas. It must be done within four years of the Decedent’s passing and the estate must have no debts, except those secured by liens on the real property. For more information about this process, contact our law firm today.
What If the Will Does Not Name an Executor?
If the probate court determines that the Will does not name an executor or if the estate needs monitoring, the court will appoint a dependent administrator. In dependent administration, the administrator has to seek court approval for any transactions. Our skilled Houston probate attorneys can assist with these court administration procedures.
Probating an Estate Without a Will
If the Decedent died without a Will or the Will cannot be located, the probate court will appoint an administrator of the Decedent’s estate. The administrator will then take an inventory of all assets and debts of the estate and make a report to the probate court about the inventory results. After this, the court will engage in attempting to determine heirship of the estate according to the laws of intestacy in Texas. After the estate’s heirs are determined, the debts and taxes of the estate are paid before property is distributed to the heirs. The administrator then prepares a final accounting for the probate court.
If your loved one recently passed away and you need assistance with the legal process to settle the estate, call Houston’s probate lawyers at The Larson Law Office today. 713-221-9088
Filing a Small Estates Affidavit in Texas
If a Decedent dies without a Will and the total value of the estate is under $75,000, excluding homestead and exempt property, our probate attorneys can prepare a Small Estates Affidavit. The Affidavit is signed by two disinterested witnesses in which the assets of the estate are designated. It outlines the estate’s liabilities, the distributees of the estate, and the family history of the Decedent. The probate court judge can then enter an order approving the Small Estates Affidavit, allowing it to be filed in the county’s deed records where the homestead is located.
Contact Houston’s Probate Lawyers Today!
Entering probate without knowledgeable legal guidance can cause stress and magnify difficulties. Our attorneys are ready to answer any questions you may have about estate planning in Texas and the probate process. Contact us today to schedule your complimentary case review. 713-221-9088