We are probate attorneys in Dallas, Texas who help probate wills. We help executors streamline and manage the probate administration process to ensure the estate is distributed appropriately and, where possible, to avoid costly probate disputes.
The process when a decedent had a valid will, which named an executor for the estate, is known as a probate administration.
An independent administration gives the executor more freedom to carry out his or her duties, without strict oversight by a probate court as with a dependent administration. Another key distinction with this type of probate is that the executor is usually not required to post a bond for the estate and can usually avoid the appraisement process.
Most people will, at some point in their lives, need to administer a probate estate. Whether it is a parent’s estate, a child, or another family member, the probate process is part of life that most of us will experience.
While the probate process can vary from case to case, and even county to county, there are some common steps that have to be considered or completed.
An application for probate must be filed with the proper Texas probate court in the county where the decedent resided or owned property.
Posting is a process that refers to the county clerk posting a notice at the courthouse stating that a probate application was filed, and to serve as notice to anyone who may contest the will or administration of the estate. If no contests are received, the probate court will proceed with opening the administration.
In addition to posting, there are situations where the other party has to be served with citation. Texas law requires this in situations where there is likely to be a probate dispute. The citation puts those with an interest in the estate on notice that they need to pay attention to what is happening and show up to court to represent their interests if need be.
After the two-week posting period, a court hearing can be had to verify that the decedent had a valid will and to appoint an executor to administer the estate. The executor is issued letters testamentary to evidence of their appointment and right to transact with the estate and its assets.
After an executor has been appointed for the estate, that individual must catalog and report all the assets held by the estate to the county clerk within 90 days of appointment. This is done by preparing and filing an Inventory, Appraisement, and List of Claims.
The affidavit in lieu of inventory may be used if there are no unpaid debts owed by the estate, except for secured debts, taxes, and administration expenses; and if the decedent’s will does not require the inventory to be filed. The beneficiaries of the will still have to be provided with a copy of the inventory.
Decedents may leave behind debts that must be paid or rejected. Some examples include mortgages, household expenses, medical bills, etc. There is a notification process that can be used to manage and avoid some debts.
If family members or others contest the will or if they file related disputes that cannot be resolved out of court, these must also be heard by the probate court judge.
After the debts and expenses of the estate are paid and the disputes are resolved or settled, the remaining assets of the estate are then distributed to the lawful beneficiaries of the will.
You can probate a will in Texas through a process known as a muniment of title. This process can be used when a valid will exists, the estate has no debts except secured real estate, and there are no Medicaid claims against the estate.
With muniment of title, the court has to determine that there is no need for a probate administration and admit the will into probate as a muniment or evidence of title to the assets of the estate. No executor is appointed with this option, and the party requesting the muniment only has to file a sworn statement with the court verifying that the terms of the will have been carried out.
Our Dallas Probate Attorneys provide a full range of probate services to our clients, including helping with probating wills. Affordable rates, fixed fees, and payment plans are available. We provide step-by-step instructions, guidance, checklists, and more for completing the probate process. We have years of combined experience we can use to support and guide you with probate and estate matters.
Disclaimer: The content of this website is for informational purposes only and should not be construed as legal advice and should not be acted upon without consulting a qualified probate attorney.