Do You File a Will in the Public Records Office in Texas?

By A.L. Kennedy

In Texas, the will of a deceased person must be admitted to probate in order to determine whether it is valid and to distribute the estate. A will is not filed in the public records office in Texas. Rather, it is filed with the probate court in order to begin probating the estate.

Where to File a Texas Will

After the death of the person who made the will, also known as the testator, the will should be filed with the probate court in the county where where the testator lived and had most or all of his assets. Filing the will with the probate court opens the probate process of wrapping up the deceased person's affairs and carrying out the instructions in his will.

Who Should File a Texas Will

The Texas Probate Code requires anyone in the possession of a deceased person's original last will and testament to file it with the appropriate probate court. If the person who has the will refuses to file and cannot give the court a valid reason for her refusal, Texas law allows the probate judge to send the person to jail until she agrees to file the will or to turn it over to someone else for filing. The executor named in the will, a beneficiary or a creditor of the estate may take the will for filing.

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What Should Be Filed With the Will

Along with the original of the will itself, at least two other documents should also be filed with the probate court, according to the Texas Probate Code. The first is a petition to begin the probate process in the court. The second is a document requesting that the executor named in the will be formally appointed and given the power to carry out his duties. If no executor is named in the will, you may file a request for the court to appoint an administrator to carry out the same duties as an executor.

How to Locate the Appropriate Court

The appropriate probate court is the court in the county where the deceased person lived, or, if he lived out of state yet died in Texas, the county where the deceased person died, according to the Texas Probate Code. Texas maintains an online database and map of its statutory probate courts (see Resources).

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Who Can Probate a Will in the State of Alabama?

In Alabama, if the deceased named someone in his will to oversee probate, he is referred to as the executor or personal representative; if no one is named in the will and the court must appoint someone, he is called the administrator. Probate is the process of disposing of the testator's property according to the will’s terms. The executor or administrator must also ensure that all of the deceased’s debts and any estate taxes are paid. Anyone in possession of the will can present it for probate after the testator’s death. This person does not necessarily have to be the executor.

Arkansas Will and Testament Filing

In Arkansas, as in most states, the probate process begins with filing the deceased’s will. It is a necessary first step before any payment of the deceased’s debts and distribution of his property to his beneficiaries can begin. The Circuit Court in the county where the testator lived when he passed away oversees probate. The court permits jury trials in the event of a dispute, and can punish anyone who doesn’t cooperate with the probate process with contempt of court.

How to File a Will & Testament in Florida

A will describes how the person writing it -- the testator -- wants his property to be distributed when he dies and nominates an executor, or personal representative, to administer his estate through the probate process. However, the representative cannot administer the testator's estate or properly distribute his assets until the will is filed with the Probate Division of the testator's local Circuit Court.

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