If you have lost a loved one, you may need to submit his or her Will to a court, in order to collect assets and distribute them according to you loved one’s wishes. This is especially important to show a link in the title of assets such as homes.
Probate is the process by which the Will of someone who has died (a “decedent”) is submitted for approval by a Texas probate court, and an executor is appointed for the collection and distribution of the decedent’s property. In Texas, this process is fairly easy and streamlined relative to other states. Various elements affect the ultimate ease and quickness of probate, including:
- whether the decedent had a Will,
- whether the original Will can be provided to the court,
- whether the Will was properly signed and witnessed,
- whether the Will included a self-proving affidavit,
- whether the Will provided for independent administration, and
- whether the Will waived the requirement that a bond be posted for the executor.
Generally, you have four years from the date of death to probate a decedent’s Will. One job of the attorney is to shepherd the applicant for probate through the court system to ultimately obtain Letters Testamentary (or Letters of Administration) from the court, which allow the appointed executor to deal with third parties and collect the decedent’s assets. After obtaining the Letters Testamentary, the executor is required to serve notices on beneficiaries under the Will and creditors of the estate. Finally, an inventory and appraisal of the estate is filed, or if appropriate, and Affidavit in lieu of Inventory and Appraisal. At that point, the formal process of the probate will conclude, and the executor may conduct the business of wrapping up the estate, or disbursing the assets to beneficiaries or trusts, without court oversight.
If a loved one of yours has died, and you are looking to begin the probate of his or her Will, feel free to contact me with any questions. We can get started on the probate process by filling out a simple questionnaire and setting an appointment. Please note, at this time I am not accepting contested probates or administrations which cannot be made independent. If you have a question about this, please ask.