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What Are the Steps in the Texas Probate Process? 

Posted on in Estate Planning and Probate

Wilson County, TX probate attorneyWhen someone passes away, there are several matters related to the property they owned, assets they possessed, and other final wishes the person had that will need to be taken care of. These types of matters are usually handled by whoever was chosen as the executor of the estate. If the deceased created a will before they passed away, the document likely contains the relative named as the executor. Sometimes, when a person passes away without a will, a relative may ask to be designated administrator of the estate. 

Moving forward with the process, the person chosen as executor or estate administrator will need to complete the probate process. Probate is a process where a court lawfully recognizes someone's death and authorizes the management and distribution of their estate. Ultimately, the goal of probate is to appropriately transfer any assets out of a deceased individual's name into the names of the living. In the event you were named as an executor or wish to serve as the estate administrator, an attorney experienced in estate and probate litigation can help you properly address the issues at hand. 

Stages of the Probate Process in Texas

In the state of Texas, the executor of the estate or estate administrator will be required to complete these steps in order to ensure the probate process is done correctly. These procedures include: 

  • Applying for Probate – Whoever has been named as executor or someone who would like to be named as estate administrator must apply to open the probate case in the county's probate court where the late party lived. Notably, an application for probate needs to be filed no later than four years after the person has passed away.

  • A hearing where the will is validated – During a waiting period of two weeks, any parties interested in the matter will be able to challenge the authenticity of the deceased person’s will or management of the person’s estate. This hearing will take place in front of a judge in probate court. During the hearing in probate court, the judge will confirm the person's death and will acknowledge that the will in question is a valid will or that the deceased died in absence of a will. Moreover, the probate court judge will assign someone as an estate administrator. 

  • Cataloging of assets – The estate administrator will then need to take a full accounting of the deceased's assets. Usually, the estate administrator will be required to submit the inventory to the court, including an evaluation of the assets at the time when the deceased person passed away. If the deceased lacked any unresolved debts, the estate administrator might then be able to present an affidavit instead of inventory.

  • Notice to recipients and lenders – All beneficiaries listed in the deceased person's will will be notified by the estate administrator. If the deceased person died without a will, the estate administrator must notify all appropriate parties with a claim to an inheritance. In addition, the estate administrator will need to inform the deceased person's creditors, letting them know of their right to make assertions against the deceased person’s estate. 

  • Resolving disputes – If inheritors or other parties believe the will is not valid or that they have a right to the deceased person's assets, they can pursue litigation against the estate. Commonly, any litigation concerned with contested estates can be commenced within a span of two years after a will is divulged in a probate court.

  • Distribute assets – Once all debts and outstanding taxes have been paid and all disagreements have been solved, the estate administrator will begin the process of distributing the deceased person's assets. Instructions for the process will be specified in the deceased person's will. If the person passed away without a will, assets will be allocated concurrently to laws of intestate succession in Texas.

Contact a Wilson County Probate Process Attorney 

Probate can often be a tricky process. To ensure the process is done correctly and your rights stay protected, consult with the knowledgeable Bexar County probate process lawyers with Geoff Mayfield, Attorney at Law. Call 210-535-0870 today for a free consultation.

Source: https://guides.sll.texas.gov/probate

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