Is Probate Complicated in Texas?

Is Probate Complicated in TX?

When a person passes away, their estate may be required to go through probate. Probate is the court process through which the decedent’s estate is settled and their assets are distributed. If done correctly, probate can be easy, but it is not recommended you pursue it on your own or with an inexperienced probate attorney. You do not have to navigate the ins and outs of probate on your own. In this article, our Texas probate lawyers provides a guide to the probate process.

Starting the Probate Process in Texas: Is There a Will?

Probate cases in Texas can be broadly divided into two categories — probate with a will and probate without a will. Indeed, one of the initial steps of the probate process is determining whether the person who passed away had a legally valid will. If they did have a will, that will should be submitted to the proper probate court. From there, the will must be confirmed as valid and interpreted. If there is no will, then the estate will be handled under the Texas intestacy laws.

Probate Tip: Probate cases are handled at the county level in Texas. When dies and has a permanent residence in Pearland, Lake Jackson, Manvel, Angleton, Clute or Freeport, the probate will likely occur in a Brazoria County court.

Understanding the Basic Steps of the Probate Process in Texas

Probate is a step-by-step legal process. There are several specific requirements that must be satisfied before a person’s estate can be finalized and their assets can be distributed to the proper heirs. Here are some of the key steps of the probate process in Pearland, TX and Lake Jackson, Brazoria County, Texas:

  • An application to open probate must be filed. Probate will not start on its own. It is up to the executor or estate administrator to submit the will (or note the lack of will) to the court.
  • The executor or estate administrator must petition the probate court for a document called letters testamentary. The letters will allow the executor to act on behalf of the decedent.
  • Adequate notice must be given to beneficiaries, people in the line of succession, and the creditors that have an interest in the estate.
  • All of the property and assets covered by the estate must be identified, collected, and valued.
  • Creditor claims must be satisfied, properly presented debts must be paid, and a final tax return must be filed; and
  • Once everything is taken care of, the property and assets covered by the estate can be distributed to the rightful heirs.

Probate Tip: Formal probate may be avoided in the estate is on the smaller side. Under Texas law (Tex. Est. Code Ann. § 205.001), an alternative to probate called a small estate affidavit may be used if the total value of the estate is under $75,000. Unfortunately, the small estate affidavit does not work for transferring every estate asset. If you have any questions about small estate affidavits in Texas, our Pearland and Lake Jackson probate lawyers can help. 

Schedule a Confidential Consultation With a Pearland and Lake Jackson, TX Probate Lawyer

At Cordoba Law Firm, PLLC, our Texas probate lawyers are experienced, knowledgeable, and solutions-driven advocate for clients. Probate can be a complicated process—you do not have to navigate it all on your own. Contact us today to set up your fully private initial legal consultation with offices in Lake Jackson and Pearland, we handle probate matters throughout the area.