All wills go through the probate process. If the estate exceeds $75,000 in Texas, then it may fall under a full court probate process. Even if your loved one died without a will, Texas requires probate to distribute their estate based on intestacy law.
File an application for probate
When a loved one dies, you must file an application for probate. You need to file the application with the decedent’s county’s probate court.
Wait on will contests
The country court gives about two weeks for someone to contest the will. Family members need to have grounds to contest the will.
Validate the will
If there were no will contests, then the probate court moves on to validating the will. The judge will also appoint an executor of the estate. As long as the will is valid, the judge will honor the decedent’s wishes on whom will be executor. When the testator didn’t name an executor, the judge chooses someone.
Catalog the assets
The executor of estate must catalog the estate’s assets within 90 days of the will validation. They need to submit the Inventory, Appraisement, and List of Claims form to the county clerk to report this information. It’s important to be honest and accurate to the extent of your knowledge and ability. If you make mistakes that shouldn’t have reasonably happened, Texas could hold you responsible.
Notify beneficiaries and creditors
The executor needs to notify the estate’s beneficiaries and receive their signatures. In situations where there could be unknown beneficiaries, Texas requires that you post a notice in the courthouse and newspapers. Creditors have a right to file a claim against a decedent’s estate to reclaim debts. Thus, you need to post a notice in local newspapers for creditors too.
It’s during the final stage of probate that you may distribute assets to beneficiaries. Texas might hold you accountable if you distribute assets to beneficiaries before creditors.
The probate process is fairly straightforward in Texas. As executor of the estate, you must make sure that you follow the steps correctly and on time to avoid legal problems.