Upon the death of a loved one, families in Texas must go through probate to settle and disburse the estate. This means the family must have the will of their loved one probated, a process that can be a bit confusing to some. To probate a will, which means to settle the estate, a family should enlist the services of experienced probate law attorneys who can help them through this procedure. Handling a loved one’s estate is mad easier with experienced probate attorneys.
What Is Probate?
Probate is the legal process of recognizing a person’s death and distributing any wealth to the people or organizations the decedent has designated to receive it. The court will read any Will that has been left and officially assign the named executor to handle the affairs of the estate for the decedent. When no executor has been named, a family must file for conservatorship, in which case an administrator to fill the role of executor is named. Families must go through probate to legally transfer any property or wealth being given by the decedent to beneficiaries.
Different Types of Probate
There are a number of ways in which a family can probate the will of a loved one in Texas. It is important to understand the different types of probate and which one is applicable for the circumstance:
- Independent Administration – This is probate when a decedent dies and leaves a Will and other essential estate planning documents, naming an executor to carry out their wishes. The executor has unsupervised control over the estate and is not required to post bond or provide insurance on the estate while it is disbursed.
- Dependent Administration – This is probate when the decedent passes away without leaving a Will or naming an executor, or there are legal issues with the documents that have been left that require the court to assign an administrator. Administrators are under more strict legal control and must post a surety bond, as well as seek the court’s approval throughout the distribution of the estate. They must also file yearly reports on the status of the estate.
- Muniment of Title – This is a simpler form of probate when a Will is present and there is no debt owed by the estate. With Muniment of Title, the court first confirms there is no debt owed, then puts the estate into the hands of the person filing for Muniment of Title to handle the estate. They must sign a sworn statement that the estate will be disbursed within six months.
- Small Estate Affidavit – This is probate when no Will exists and total assets of the estate are less than $50,000. Beneficiaries can file an affidavit to collect assets.
Probating A Will in Texas
There is a specific process involved in probating a will in Texas, which begins with filing for probate with the local court. Once this happens, beneficiaries must then post public notice of probate so that any creditors or contestors can step forward to make claims against the estate. The court must then validate the Will, name the executor or administrator, and an inventory of assets must be filed. All beneficiaries must then be named and any debts owed by the estate must be resolved. Once all of this has been accomplished, the estate can then be distributed to beneficiaries.
Probating a will in Texas can be confusing for many people. It is recommended that any family who needs to probate a will work with experienced probate law attorneys to help them through this process. With the help of skilled attorneys familiar with probate law, a family can ensure their loved one’s estate will be handled more efficiently and reduce the stress that is often present during this time.
Peterson Law Group – Main Office
College Station TX 77840