How Long to Probate a Will in Texas?

By Joseph Scrofano

State laws govern the process by which a person's assets are distributed after he dies. If the deceased, known as the decedent, dies with a drafted will, the executor or the personal representative in the will typically must file for probate. In Texas, state and local court rules govern the various time periods that the executor must follow in probating a will.

To File for Probate

The general rule in Texas is that the executor has four years from the date of death of the testator, or person who drafted the will, to file for probate. Generally, if the executor does not file the will within that prescribed time period, the laws of intestacy will govern how the estate’s assets are distributed. In that case, it would be as if the person died with no will and the laws of the state would decide how the assets are distributed to each heir. In practice, a will is usually probated in Texas from between two months to one year of the estate owner’s death.

Notice to the Public

Once the executor files the will for probate, Texas probate law requires the executor wait approximately two weeks before she can have a hearing. The reason for this delay is so the court can provide notice to the public that a will was filed for probate. The law requires 10 business days and can sometimes be longer for a variety of reasons.

Protect your loved ones. Start My Estate Plan

Notice to Creditors

The probate court authorizes the executor to act on behalf of the estate through Letters Testamentary, which are official letters from the court. Once she receives the Letters Testamentary, the executor has a set time period to provide notice to all creditors of the estate. The Texas Probate Code gives the executor one month from the time she receives Letters Testamentary to publish a notice in the local newspaper for the estate’s creditors.

Notice to Beneficiaries

The executor has a set time period to provide written notice to all of the will’s beneficiaries. Once the probate judge admits the will to probate, then the executor has 60 days to provide a certified written letter to all beneficiaries named in the will. The executor must include a copy of the will and a copy of the court order admitting it for probate. Within 90 days of receiving the court’s order, the executor must file an affidavit attesting that he provided the requisite notice to the will’s beneficiaries.

The Entire Process

The time to probate an estate can vary on a case-by-case basis. Several factors may influence whether an estate takes a longer period of time to probate: First, the size and complexity of the estate can increase the amount of time it takes for probate. Second, if a beneficiary or creditor files any claims against the estate, it can make the probate process longer and cost more.

Protect your loved ones. Start My Estate Plan
Probate Law & Illinois Statute of Limitations
 

References

Resources

Related articles

Probate Court Procedures for a Will

A valid will explains a person's wishes for distributing her property after her death, and often nominates a personal representative to carry out those wishes. A probate court guides the estate settlement, and the process may require more than one court appearance by the personal representative or administrator. Although the process is similar across the country, check local court rules to learn your state's requirements.

Contesting a Will in an Illinois Probate Court

A person who is at least 18 and mentally competent may make a will in Illinois. When the will is filed in court to start probate -- the legal procedure used to settle an estate -- a person with an interest in the estate has the right to challenge the will by filing a contest. A person with an interest in an estate can include heirs, people that the deceased person, also known as the decedent, named as beneficiaries in the will and the decedent's creditors.

Time Limitations in California State Inheritance Laws

Many deadlines follow a person's death as his estate is being probated in California. Probate is the process by which courts make sure that a deceased person's debts are paid and property distributed to his heirs. Deadlines in this process must be satisfied in order for the process to proceed smoothly. Probate only applies if the combined value of the decedent's real and personal property are greater than $150,000 at the time of death. If the estate's assets are less than this, these deadlines are irrelevant.

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

Related articles

Time to Probate a Will in Texas

A Texas decedent's estate must be probated under most circumstances. To go through probate, the will's personal ...

How Do I Probate a Will?

Probate is the legal term for the process of ensuring the validity of a will and granting authority to the person named ...

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 ...

How Long Is Somebody the Executor of a Will?

The executor of a will is in office from the time she opens probate and is sworn in until the court closes the estate ...

Browse by category
Ready to Begin? GET STARTED