The word “probate” describes the process of settling a deceased person’s outstanding debts and distributing any remaining assets. During probate, a will is “proved” in a court of law and accepted as a valid public document. However, probate also includes settling an estate according to the laws in the state of residence when no legal will is available.
How does the probate process work in Texas?
Here is a simplification of the probate process in Texas:
- The will and application for probate are filed with the court in the decedent’s last county of residence.
- A probate court hearing is held. During this time, the judge confirms that the person applying to be the executor is fit to serve and legally recognizes the will as valid.
- The executor inventories, appraises, and sells the deceased person’s estate assets and notifies beneficiaries of the will. They also post a notice to interested creditors, pay debts, file the decedent’s final federal tax return, and settle the estate.
- Disputes are resolved.
- Estate assets are distributed to the beneficiaries.
What happens during a probate hearing in Texas?
A probate judge will recognize and confirm the decedent’s death. In addition, the judge confirms that the person assigned to be the executor is fit to serve and will verify the will as valid.
Then the county clerk will issue “letters testamentary” to the executor, which serves as notice that the executor has the authority to act as a representative on behalf of the estate.
What are the benefits of hiring a probate attorney?
A probate attorney will look after your best interest to ensure you receive payments for debts from an estate if you are a creditor or assets from the estate if you are (or should be) a beneficiary.
How do I schedule a hearing for a probate case?
Probate hearings are held in the deceased’s last county of residence. To schedule a hearing, you must contact the probate court in that county. However, most individuals utilize probate attorneys to help complete the process. In that case, the probate attorney will schedule the hearing.