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.

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.

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.

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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.

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Duties of the Executor of a Will in Texas

References

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New York Estate Law When the Executor Dies

New York, like all other states, recognizes a written will as the proper method for making your wishes known as to the distribution of your assets when you die. The executor is the person named in the will to see that the terms of the will are carried out. If an executor dies before she has completed her duties, the court must appoint a new executor.

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.

Florida Probate Court Laws of the Deceased

Generally, probate is the process of gathering a deceased person’s estate, paying his final debts and distributing the remaining assets to beneficiaries. Florida’s circuit courts oversee probate cases in accordance with Florida’s probate laws, found in Chapters 731 through 735 of the Florida statutes. These laws address who can inherit from a decedent, as well as how the inheritances are distributed.

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