Understanding the Probate Process in Texas
During probate, the courts must verify that the deceased individual’s will is valid. Then, the assets can be distributed based on the individual’s final wishes. Many people find the probate process confusing and intimidating; let’s go over how it works in Texas.
Probate in Texas
1. Filing an Application for Probate
To begin, you must file for an application for probate. You must do this in the county where the deceased individual lived.
2. Posting Notice
After the application has been received, there is about a two-week waiting period before a hearing is held. During this waiting period, the county clerk will post a notice at the courthouse stating that a probate application was filed. This is done so that anyone who may contest the will has time to do so before the estate administration process continues.
3. Validating the Will
Once the two-week waiting period has ended, you will attend a hearing. During this hearing, the judge will:
- Legally recognize the deceased’s death
- Verify the deceased’s will, or state that there is no will
- Appoint an administrator or verify the executor listed in the will
4. Cataloging Assets
Cataloging assets is one of the most involved parts of the probate process. During this stage, the executor or administrator must catalog all assets within the estate. This must include descriptions of the assets and reasonable valuations.
5. Identifying Beneficiaries
During this stage, the executor or administration must notify the beneficiaries of the estate. In cases where the deceased did not have a will, the court will determine who to contact based on state intestacy laws.
6. Notifying Creditors
Many individuals pass away with unpaid debts. In these cases, creditors must be notified of the descendant’s death and given the opportunity to file claims against the estate.
7. Handling Disputes
Family members may have disputes about the validity and/or execution of the will. If this occurs, these concerns may be heard and handled by a probate judge. However, in most cases, these disputes can be handled through mediation before needing to go to court.
8. Distributing Assets
Once the above steps are completed and all disputes are resolved, the assets will be distributed to the beneficiaries according to the will or intestate laws.
These steps may vary based on the individual circumstances of the estate, but we hope that this general overview has helped you get a better understanding of the probate process in Texas.
Dallas Probate Attorneys
Do you have more questions? We have the answers. Set up a consultation with our Dallas probate lawyers. We understand that this process is foreign to many people, and we want to help make it as clear and easy as possible.