Statute of Limitations for Processing a Will in Texas

By Beverly Bird

There are different statutes of limitation for wills in Texas, depending on the issue. The state’s legislation also provides for exceptions to some statutes of limitation. In general, it is advisable to act sooner rather than later when processing a will to avoid the possibility of penalties and other complications.

Opening and Closing Probate

You have four years after the death of the testator, the person who made the will, to submit the will for probate in Texas. The probate process must be completed within three years unless the court extends this time for special circumstances.

Other Probate Deadlines

Once the will enters probate, the executor of the estate, or the person appointed to oversee the probate process, has to meet several deadlines. He must take an oath of office within 20 days. Within a month after that, he must publish a notice to the deceased’s creditors in the local newspaper, alerting them to the fact that the estate is in probate. Within two months of taking his oath of office, he must also send direct notice to any secured creditors, those with loans guaranteed by collateral. An inventory of the assets of the estate must be filed with probate court within three months of the executor’s oath of office.

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Exceptions to Probate

If a will is not presented for probate within four years of the deceased’s date of death, Texas provides an alternate for transfer of the deceased’s property called “muniment of title.” An estate usually qualifies for muniment of title only if it has no unsecured debts, if the total value of the estate is under $10,000 and with a finding by the court that full probate is not necessary. The court can enter an order simply transferring title of the deceased’s property.

Contesting a Will

Will contests can be filed up to two years after a will has entered probate. An exception is if the original will is a forgery or a fraud. Texas law then extends the deadline to two years after the discovery of the fraud. The law also extends the deadline for anyone who wanted to contest the will during the original two-year period but couldn’t because she was incapacitated in some way. In this case, she has an additional two years after regaining capacity.

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References

Related articles

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 in it to act as its executor. It can be a long and tiresome process, but it is a necessary step in the administration of the deceased's estate. Knowing how to probate a will correctly may reduce the time and cost of the process.

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.

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.

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