How Long to Probate a Will in Texas?

By Stephanie Kurose, J.D.

How Long to Probate a Will in Texas?

By Stephanie Kurose, J.D.

In Texas, probating a will can last anywhere between a few months to a few years depending on the size and complexity of the estate. The length of probate also varies based on what state has jurisdiction over the deceased person's estate.

Last will and testament lying under a gavel

The Probate Process

Probate is the court process of settling a deceased person's will and administering their estate, which includes paying off any final debts and distributing assets to any heirs or beneficiaries.

When a person dies, their will must be filed with the county probate court. Typically, this is the responsibility of the executor or personal representative named in the will. Once the will is submitted to probate, there are a number of formalities and requirements that the executor must follow. How long the process will take depends on a few different factors such as the complexity of the estate and whether anyone contests the will.

In Texas, the executor generally has four years from the date of the person's death to file for probate. If the executor does not file within that time frame, the probate court will apply the state's default laws of intestate succession and distribute the deceased's assets as if the person died without a will. Typically, however, executors file for probate within the first two months to one year of the person's death. Once the will is submitted to probate, executors must wait approximately two weeks before a hearing is scheduled.

Required Notifications

The executor is required to give certain groups of people notice of the person's death. These groups include creditors, beneficiaries, and the general public. In Texas, there is a 10-day waiting period after a will is submitted to court and before a hearing is held. This allows the probate court to provide notice to the public that the will was filed. This waiting period can sometimes extend longer than 10 days for a variety of reasons.

The executor also has a set time period to give any of the deceased's creditors notice that they have died. Texas law gives the executor one month from the time she receives the "Letters Testamentary"—official letters from the court authorizing the executor to act on behalf of the estate—to provide notice to all actual and potential creditors. Notice can include simply publishing the person's death in a local newspaper approved by the court clerk.

Any beneficiaries must also be notified by the executor. The executor has 60 days to provide all heirs a certified written letter indicating that they are named in the will. The executor must include a copy of the will and a copy of the court order admitting it to probate. Within 90 days, the executor must provide the probate court a written affidavit attesting that they have provided the required notice to the will's beneficiaries.

Total Length of Probate

Depending on the complexity of the estate and whether or not any heir contests the will, the length of probate can vary. For smaller estates, Texas provides a streamlined probate process that can be completed in a few months.

For more information about probating a will in Texas, contact an online service provider who can help answer any of your questions.

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