Probate is the legal process during which someone’s estate gets distributed after their death. In Texas, an estate exists out of all the assets that are owned by someone at the time of their death. Thus, an estate may include: cash, real estate, stocks, bonds, life insurance, retirement accounts, cars, etc.
Probate distributes a deceased person’s estate via two ways, the first, easiest and fastest way is to probate a Will. Most Wills in Texas are probated without any Will contest, and on average take 180-360 days, it can be longer depending on the complexity of the Estate, and the value of the assets involved. The Second way that assets are distributed are via Intestacy (when there is no will). The Intestacy procedure in general takes more time, is more costly and usually is not the way people want their assets distributed. It is therefore very important to have a Will that explains who your heirs and beneficiaries are, and who should get what.
The basis of Probate in Texas is to:
– inventory all assets of a deceased person;
– ensure their debts are paid;
– distribute all remainder assets to the beneficiaries/heirs or devisees. The distribution will either happen per the provisions of the will or if there is no will, distribution will occur according to Texas Intestacy Laws.
This is just a simple breakdown of the process. The details vary from case to case, but the barebone requirements are the same, whether there is or isn’t a Will involved.
When there is a Will, any person who has possession of the Will is legally required to provide the original document to the appropriate probate court, within four (4) years of decedent’s death. The next step would be for the court to have a hearing on the validity of the Will, at which time, if found valid, the Will is admitted to probate. At this point the Will shall serve as the “roadmap” for what will happen during the probate process. A Will must be probated to have any legal significance.
We understand that going through probate can be an overwhelming process, even more so if you are still grieving over the loss of your loved one. If you have questions, or would like us to represent you during probate, we are here to talk to you! You can book an appointment here, or contact our office.