Texas landowners are sometimes called upon to probate a loved one’s will or administer an estate. Attorney Philip Hundl summarizes the process for you in this video. Call us at 800-266-4870 for an appointment.

The Texas Probate Process — A Summary

A Summary of the Texas Probate Process Video

Hello, I’m Phillip Hundl. I’d like to talk to you today about what happens when a loved one passes away and you begin to hear from friends and family that the will needs to be probated or what to do about the probate of the loved one’s estate.

I want to briefly talk about some of the steps in the probate process. First, when a person passes away, there are a lot of decisions to be made right away, from funeral expenses to arrangements. It’s a trying time and just know that it’s not necessary immediately to probate the will.

You have time to probate the decedent’s will. When you have a loved one who passes away, first tend to the family matters and the funeral arrangements. There’s without a doubt a grieving process. Deal with those issues first. Then, within a week or two or three weeks, go talk to an attorney who is familiar with estates and probate in Texas, and visit with that attorney about probating the decedent’s will.

How to Prepare for Your Meeting with an Attorney

At that meeting, you would want to bring the original will. If you don’t have the original will because it is at the bank in a lockbox, if you have a copy, bring a copy to that initial meeting with your attorney. The attorney can then review the will to determine if it meets the formalities of a proper will, which means that it was signed by the decedent and also witnessed.

Once the attorney has been able to review the will, they will be able to consult with you on the appropriate probate process and steps to take, typically filing an application to probate the will. If the original will cannot be found but you do have a copy, the probate code in Texas, or now known as the Estates Code, allows for probating a copy of the will.

What Happens if There Is No Will?

Let’s say you’re in a situation where the decedent doesn’t have a will. What can you do and what should you do? If the decedent owns assets, what you would want to do is visit with an attorney about filing an application for an administration of that person’s estate.

Also part of that process, because there is no will, you would also be asking for the court to determine heirship. In other words, who will be the heirs or beneficiaries of the decedent’s estate.

The Process of Probating the Will or Creating an Administration of the Estate

There’s a certain period of time upon filing of the application to probate the will or the application to administer the estate. There’s a waiting period. You can have a hearing in front of the probate court or probate judge. Typically, it’s about a two-week period to probate the will or have the court open up and create an administration, and at that time, the judge would grant letters testamentary or letters of administration.

Once that is done, the applicant, who would most likely be the spouse of the decedent or one of the decedent’s children, would be named as the executor, according to the person named in the will, or the administrator if designated by the court. Once that’s done, there’s a 90-day period until an affidavit is required to be filed with the court. The affidavit is an affidavit of inventory.

There are two options now in Texas. The executor may file an inventory of the decedent’s estate with the court or file an affidavit stating that an inventory has been prepared and can be provided to creditors if necessary but is not filed with the court. So, in summary, those are the initial steps in probating someone’s will or creating an administration of their estate if the decedent didn’t have a will.

Get the Help You Need

You can call us at 800-266-4870 or text us at 979-320-9320 for the help you need in handling the estate of a loved one. You can also use the contact form to reach us.

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