Do You Have to Probate a Will According to the Laws in the State of Texas?

By Heather Frances J.D.

When someone dies, Texas law requires that his probate assets be distributed to his heirs or beneficiaries, so probate — the court-supervised process of distributing a deceased person's assets — is required for most estates in Texas. Some assets, such as life insurance or jointly owned assets, are considered nonprobate assets that do not have to go through the probate process, but other assets like personal property and vehicles usually require probate.

When someone dies, Texas law requires that his probate assets be distributed to his heirs or beneficiaries, so probate — the court-supervised process of distributing a deceased person's assets — is required for most estates in Texas. Some assets, such as life insurance or jointly owned assets, are considered nonprobate assets that do not have to go through the probate process, but other assets like personal property and vehicles usually require probate.

Probate

In general, probate begins when an interested party – such as a friend or relative – provides the court with the decedent’s original will and asks for it to be admitted. If the court determines the will is valid – or if there is no will – it will appoint a representative or executor to administer the estate. The representative notifies the decedent’s creditors of the decedent’s death, pays valid creditor claims, and distributes remaining assets to the decedent’s beneficiaries or, if the decedent had no will, to his heirs as identified in Texas law.

Protect your loved ones by a legally binding will. Make a Will Online Now

Independent Administration Qualifications

Texas allows an executor to administer a decedent’s estate independently, without court supervision, under certain circumstances. This may make the probate process quicker and less expensive since the estate’s representative does not have to go to the court as frequently. For an estate to qualify for independent administration, the decedent must have left a will that specifically states his executor should be independent, or all of the heirs or beneficiaries must agree to allow independent administration.

Independent Administration

An independent executor or administrator has less supervision than he would have under traditional probate administration, but he cannot simply do whatever he wants. The estate’s representative does not have to seek court approval or post a bond, but he still has responsibilities to the court and the beneficiaries and heirs of the estate, including collecting assets, paying debts and distributing remaining assets. The representative also has fiduciary responsibilities, which means he must act in the estate’s best interests and must deal honestly in the estate’s affairs.

Dependent Administration

Estates that do not qualify for independent administration must go through traditional, dependent administration. Under dependent administration, the estate’s representative must seek court approval for most transactions, including debt payment and sale of estate assets. This can increase the time required for the probate process as well as the costs.

Protect your loved ones by a legally binding will. Make a Will Online Now
What Does Independent Administration Mean in Probating a Will?

References

Related articles

When Is an Estate Probated?

Many people wish to avoid probate – the process of gathering a decedent’s assets, paying his debts, and distributing the remaining assets to his beneficiaries or heirs – because it can be complicated, expensive and time-consuming. However, probate isn’t always this way, and some estates qualify for simplified probate proceedings or don’t have to be probated at all.

How to Divide Property Among Heirs in Mississippi

When a person dies with a valid will, his estate’s executor distributes his property according to the terms of his will, though state laws govern some aspects of the distribution process. When someone dies without a will in Mississippi, state laws determine how his estate is administered and who inherits from the deceased person.

What Is the Difference Between a Court Intervention Estate & a Non-intervention Estate?

Whether you create a will or die without one, some of your property must go through probate before being distributed to your beneficiaries or heirs. Your state’s probate process provides rules under which your estate’s representative gathers your assets, pays your debts and distributes any remaining assets according to your will or, if do not have a will, state law. Depending on your state’s laws, you may be able to include language in your will that makes this process easier for your representative by lessening the court’s level of intervention.

LegalZoom. Legal help is here. Start Here. Wills. Trusts. Attorney help.

Related articles

What Is the Meaning of Settle Estate?

A Last Will and Testament contains instructions for the distribution of a person's assets, also referred to as the ...

What Are the Protocols of Executor of a Will in the State of Florida?

Probate is the process of winding up a deceased's financial responsibilities and transferring legal ownership of her ...

Can the Executor of a Will Put Property in Probate?

When a person dies, his assets must be distributed to the appropriate beneficiaries or heirs. To accomplish this, most ...

Kentucky Executor Checklist

In Kentucky, the executor is the person named in a will to manage the estate of a deceased person, known as the ...

Browse by category