In the event that a person in Texas dies without leaving a will, this would give rise to intestate succession. In this instance, it would be wise to seek the legal advice of a Texas probate lawyer who can counsel you regarding the process of determining heirs in Texas. This legal advocate can explain everything you need to know regarding the application to determine heirship in Texas.
Proceedings to Determine Heirship
Determining heirs in Texas is easy when the decedent died leaving a will. In this case, the court will merely refer on the provisions of the will to determine the heirs and beneficiaries to the estate. But when the decedent left no will, this is can be quite a challenging predicament. The process by which the decedent’s assets are transferred to heirs will not follow the normal system of how a will is probated in Texas.
According to Texas intestacy law, a probate court will rule on the question of heirship according to the law and without regard to the known wishes or preferences of the decedent.
When determining heirs in Texas for a decedent who owned real or personal property but died without leaving a will, there are three requirements to be observed to permit the filing of an application to determine heirship:
- The decedent has died without leaving a valid will.
- The decedent has real or personal property in the state of Texas.
- There has been no administration of the estate, or the will had been probated but property was omitted from the will.
With the legal representation of a Texas probate attorney, parties interested in the estate of the decedent may file a proceeding to determine heirship before the court in the county where the real property is situated.
If the decedent has no real property, the action may be filed in the county where his personal property is located.
The main objective in an application to determine heirship in Texas is to settle the question as to who is/are the rightful heir/s of the decedent and to transfer the properties to them.
Filing an Application to Determine Heirship in Texas
Any of the heirs of the decedent who have a share in the property can initiate the filing with a probate court. All the heirs of the deceased must receive notice of the proceedings. The manner of serving notices is outlined in the Texas Probate Code and an be done with the help of a Texas probate attorney.
All heirs must sign the application or must be personally served with the application. If there are potentially unknown heirs of the deceased, the court requires that notices be posted in newspapers as well as at the courthouse.
The application must include the name of the deceased and the date of death, names and addresses of all the heirs, their relationship to the distributees, and details of all the real and personal property of the deceased.
All applicants must be able to prove the truth of the details in the application; written as well as oral testimony may be necessary.
Besides the heirs themselves, a secured creditor or a qualified representative of the deceased can also initiate these proceedings as parties interested in the estate.
Seek the Help of a Texas Probate Attorney
An application to determine heirship in Texas is similar to most legal proceedings, with many nuances and intricacies. Getting the legal assistance of a probate attorney experienced in these situations is highly advisable.