How to Probate a Will in Texas

By Beverly Bird

Depending on the county where a testator, or the person who wrote the will, lived at the time of his death, Texas courts sometimes require that the executor of the will must be represented by an attorney. The Statutory Probate Court oversees the process if the testator lived in a metropolitan area; in rural areas, the Constitutional County Court presides over probate. The probate process can be simple or complex depending on the size and nature of the estate.

Step 1

Submit the will to the clerk of the appropriate court along with a completed application for probate. The application asks for the date, time and place of the testator’s death, a description of his property, the names of any children born after the will was written, and whether or not he was ever divorced. After this is accomplished, there is a two-week waiting period while the clerk posts a notice at the courthouse that you have applied for probate. The court also decides during this time if the will is valid and if it actually requires probate. Anyone objecting to the will or to your appointment as executor must notify the court within this two-week period.

Step 2

Attend a court hearing when the waiting period has expired. The date and time are scheduled when the clerk posts the notice at the courthouse. If no one has objected and the judge feels that you are qualified for the job, he approves your appointment as executor at this hearing and enters a court order that allows you to act on the estate’s behalf.

Protect your loved ones. Start My Estate Plan

Step 3

Make an inventory of all assets owned by the testator that must pass through the probate process. This is anything that does not go directly to a named beneficiary, such as some life insurance policies, retirement benefits and real estate. File the inventory with the court within the next 90 days.

Step 4

Find out who, if anyone, the testator owed money to. Publish a notice in the newspaper alerting them, as well as any creditors that you don’t know about, that they have a limited period of time during which to make a claim against the estate for the debt owed to them. The notice should include your name and address, or the contact information for the estate’s attorney if you have hired one. As you receive claims, you must either accept and pay them or reject them. You must also file and pay any taxes due for the estate and individually for the testator at this time.

Step 5

Prepare and submit to the court an accounting of all debts, taxes and expenses you have paid on behalf of the estate, along with a request to distribute the remaining assets to the will’s beneficiaries. The court then assigns a date for a second hearing and you must mail notice of this date to the beneficiaries, heirs and creditors at least 15 days in advance.

Step 6

Attend the second court hearing where the judge signs an order allowing you to distribute the bequests to the beneficiaries under the terms of the will if all your paperwork is in order. After the hearing, you can disburse the remainder of the estate to the beneficiaries and file a declaration for final discharge with the court. When the court receives it, probate is closed.

Protect your loved ones. Start My Estate Plan
How Long Do Probate Wills Take in Massachusetts?
 

References

Related articles

Does Someone Have to Be at the Divorce Court Date in North Carolina?

In some respects, North Carolina is the easiest state in which to divorce. You don't have to divide your property or debts before filing, and it's not necessary to resolve issues of custody or support. The court can terminate your marriage without addressing any of these issues, but if you don't file a separate complaint to resolve property issues or alimony, you're barred from going back to court later to sort these things out. You don't have to appear in court to finalize the divorce itself, provided you have a lawyer.

Statute of Limitations on Contesting a Will in Massachusetts

Massachusetts has a very short statute of limitations for contesting a will. If you do not act immediately after the will is filed for probate -- or if you do not act correctly and make procedural errors -- you may lose your opportunity to object. The will’s proponents, or the executor and beneficiaries who want the will to stand, can file a motion to “strike” your objection and have it thrown out of court if it is deficient in any way.

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.

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

Related articles

What Are the Steps to Probate a Will?

In most cases, unless an estate is very small, the probate process is court-supervised. The deceased’s debts have to be ...

How Do I Probate a Will in Alabama?

Alabama only probates certain property located within the state. Anything owned by the testator, or the person who made ...

What Is the Longest You Can Take to Settle an Estate in Virginia?

Settling an estate requires the completion of several steps in Virginia, and it can be a lengthy and complex process. ...

Reasons to Request a Continuance on a Divorce Hearing in Texas

In Texas, the divorce process can require several hearings. When any one of them is scheduled, you might find that ...

Browse by category
Ready to Begin? GET STARTED