What to Expect in Probating a Will
The probate process in Texas can be categorized into six main steps and with: (1) filing for probate, (2) hearing with the court, (3) notification to the beneficiaries and creditors, (4) inventory of the estate, (5) resolving debts, and (6) final distribution. While this is seemingly a straightforward process, problems regularly arise, and a probate attorney is usually required to help probate an estate in Texas. Accordingly, it is prudent and responsible to have a team of attorneys like Waldron & Schneider’s probate attorneys ensuring that your loved one’s estate is administered properly.
Step 1: Filing for Probate
Initially, the process begins by filing an application with the county clerk of the county where the decedent resided. This filing will include the decedent’s last will and testament. Generally, a decedent’s will must be filed within four years of their death. After filing, there is a mandatory waiting period of approximately two weeks, during which notice is posted by the county clerk giving a chance for any potential contests to the will or administration of the probate.
Step 2: Hearing with the Court
After the waiting period lapses, a hearing is scheduled with the court, where the executor of the will is appointed by the court. Additionally, the court recognizes the decedent’s death, validates the will admitted, and confirms the executor’s capability to serve. At this point, letters testamentary are issued by the court to the executor, granting the executor authority to act.
Step 3: Notification to the Beneficiaries and Creditors
Once the Executor qualifies and letters testamentary are issued, then the beneficiaries named in the will, if any, are notified that the Will was admitted into probate, that the name executor in the will was appointed and the estate is in the process of being administered. During this time, the executor must further notify creditors of the estate about the probate of the will.
Step 4: Inventory of the Estate
After appointment, the executor has 90 days to inventory and appraise the estate before reporting the assets to the county clerk. Larger estates understandably require more work for the executor.
Step 4: Resolving Debts
Now that the estate has been identified and valued, the finances come into play. Before the individuals or entities named in the decedent’s will can receive anything, the estate must first discharge all debts belonging to the decedent. This includes filing final taxes, resolving any debts, and legally concluding any outstanding contests by beneficiaries. Waldron & Schneider’s experienced team of attorneys is prepared to defend from any will contests and ensure that your loved one’s estate is safe from unwarranted challenges.
Step 5: Final Distribution
Once the liabilities of the estate are resolved and any challenges are put to rest, the decedent’s estate can finally be distributed to beneficiaries in accordance with their wishes.
Overall, this process will last for many months even if there are no roadblocks. If disputes arise regarding the validity of the will, the capability of the executor, or outstanding debts on the estate, the probate could easily take more than a year.
Waldron & Schneider’s team of probate attorneys pride themselves is making probate efficient and comprehensive. Call us today to speak with one of our probate attorneys about all that we can do for you.
The legal information in this blog entry is not intended to be a substitute for seeking personalized legal advice from an attorney licensed to practice in your jurisdiction. Further, nothing contained in this article is intended to create an attorney-client relationship with any reader. This article and website are made available by Waldron & Schneider for educational purposes only and to give basic information and a general understanding of the law, not to provide specific legal advice. By using this website you understand that there is no attorney client relationship between you and Waldron & Schneider. The article and website should not be used as a substitute for competent legal advice from a licensed professional attorney in your state. For more information or questions you can contact us and one of our attorneys will be in touch soon.