Probate is the process of transferring ownership of a decedent’s property to the intended beneficiaries after his or her Will is verified by the court system. It also encompasses the administration of the decedent’s estate, collection of debts due to it, and payment of its creditors.
While initiating the process can be simple, the probate process can be complex. When a loved one dies, seeking the advice and assistance of a Texas probate lawyer can help make the process faster and easier.
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Texas Probate: The Steps
The majority of people who begin the process of probating a will in Texas quickly discover that they need the assistance of an attorney experienced in these matters. A probate lawyer has obtained the education and experience necessary to navigate the Texas probate process. A legal professional understands what it takes to meet the requirements of the Texas Probate Code. Some of the steps your attorney will take include:
- Submitting an application to probate the decedent’s Will.
- Attending a hearing and providing the court with the proof they need to validate the decedent’s death and admit the Will to probate.
- Furnishing the Will and/or codicil to the court.
- Putting creditors on notice of the decedent’s death by publishing a notice in the paper and by sending a letter to the creditors.
- Sending out notices to the beneficiaries of the estate.
- Taking inventory and appraising the assets of the decedent.
- Submitting an application to establish an allowance for the decedent’s family, if necessary.
In a nutshell, probate is the manner by which the court recognizes the death of a person who owns properties and authorizes another to handle its administration.
The process of probating a will in Texas begins by filing an application for probate before the appropriate Texas court. After this filing, the law allows a two week waiting period before a hearing on the probate application starts. During this period, the county clerk will order the posting of notices to inform the public of the probate application. Absent any protest, the court will move forward with the probate proceedings for the administration and recognition of the validity of the Will.
In the course of the proceedings, the court will appoint an executor or administrator to oversee the estate. The law attaches important duties to this designation; accordingly, the court will determine the qualifications of those to be appointed as executors or administrators of the estate.
With the complexities attendant to these proceedings, it is highly advisable to hire the services of an experienced probate attorney in Texas to facilitate the process.
Get Help Probating a Will in Texas
The Texas probate process can be quite lengthy and involved, but working with an attorney who understands the probate system makes certain that the estate’s assets and liabilities are handled in the proper fashion and that the wishes of the decedent are carried out in an appropriate manner. Even with a valid Will, there are time limitations for the probate process, so it’s imperative to talk to an experienced legal professional.
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With over 20 years of legal experience, Keith Morris has devoted his efforts to sharpening his skills in probate, trust, and estate planning and litigation.