There are a myriad of reasons why the deceased may have not left a valid will. The Texas probate attorneys of Jones Morris Klevenhagen thoroughly understand the Texas Probate Code and will help you to determine how the decedent’s assets need to be passed, and to whom.
If the decedent’s assets cannot be automatically transferred and there is no will, then there are two avenues to opening an administration in Texas – independent administration and dependent administration.
Texas Independent Administration
A Texas independent administration offers the same level of ease as probating a will, but requires additional work in the beginning. Another possible complication is that all of the heirs must agree and sign consent for the administrator to serve. The person that desires to be appointed administrator files an application for probate and a request for an heirship proceeding at the same time. An heirship proceeding is the process by which the Texas probate court determines the decedent’s heirs according to Texas law. Typically an individual’s heirs are their spouse and children, but in circumstances where the decedent is not married or has no children, other family members may be heirs.
The Texas probate court will appoint an attorney ad litem to act as an investigator to investigate the heirs of the decedent. The court will then hold a hearing when the heirs are determined and the applicant will be appointed as the independent administrator. Once the administrator is appointed, he can act independently as if there had been a will to dispose of the assets. The administrator will be required to publish and file a notice to creditors, send notice to secured creditors, and file an inventory, appraisement and list of claims.
Texas Dependent Administration
If the heirs cannot agree or there is another reason that an independent administration is not possible then the default procedure is a Texas dependent administration. A dependent administration is subject to court oversight for almost any action that the administrator takes and the administrator is required to get a bond. The administrator is also required to keep track of all expenditures and receipts and then file a yearly accounting with the court for approval.
The process is not difficult; it just requires the assistance of a competent Texas probate lawyer to decipher the Texas Probate Code. If your loved one did not leave a will and is leaving behind a substantial estate, it is in your best interests to retain counsel in order to navigate the process and protect your rights.
Contact Jones Morris Klevenhagen at 888-869-9015 to defend your rights as heirs, and ensure the quick and orderly transfer of assets.