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Probate in Texas

When a person passes away, their assets must be disbursed according to their estate plan and, when applicable, state laws. A probate lawyer in Texas helps executors of a will or beneficiaries of an estate through the probate process. Starting with identifying estate assets and ending with the distribution of assets and inheritances to the beneficiaries. Contact us at Tootle Law, PLLC, by either using the online form or calling us directly at 830-433-7660 to schedule a FREE CONSULTATION. We provide services throughout Texas while primarily serving Boerne (Kendall County) and the surrounding areas.

What Constitutes Probate in Texas?

Probate is the process by which a deceased person's assets and belongings, known as their estate, are passed on to their heirs and successors. It depends on your jurisdiction, but most matters related to wills, estates, conservatorships, and guardianships are handled by probate courts. 

Each probate case is unique, so probate processes and outcomes can look very different.

Probate Process

The probate process begins when the decedent passes away. A petition is filed with the proper court to have probate opened. The next step is to identify the executor or personal representative of the decedent's estate. 

  • If there is a will, an executor will likely be named in it.
  • If there is not a will or an executor is not named in a will, a probate judge will nominate an administrator. 

Once the executor or administrator is approved and appointed by the court, generally he or she must:

  1. Secure all property;
  2. Notify heirs and beneficiaries;
  3. Notify creditors;
  4. Take inventory of the estate (e.g., bank accounts, retirement accounts, stocks and bonds, real estate, personal effects);
  5. Pay debts and taxes; and
  6. Distribute property to beneficiaries.

How probate proceeds depends on whether there is a valid will and whether the court orders administration of the estate as independent or dependent. Texas provides for independent administration free of court supervision. This means that after an independent executor or administrator is approved and an inventory of estate assets has been filed, the executor or administrator can take care of the administration of the estate without further court involvement or supervision. A dependent administration can be more costly for an estate but is sometimes necessary.

Probate With a Will

If the decedent died with a will, the will must be found, filed with the proper court, and authenticated before its terms are put into action. This process often involves a court hearing. During this hearing, an interested party may contest the will. If the court decides the will is invalid, it will apply the state's intestacy laws.

Probate Without a Will

If there is no will, the decedent is said to have died intestate. This does not mean their assets will not be inherited, it just means their property will pass to their heirs through their state's intestacy laws. Without a will, the court will need to determine the decedent's heirs.

Do You Need a Probate Lawyer in Texas?

Whether you need a probate lawyer depends on how well the estate plan was set up and what types of assets and debts are included in the estate. Regardless, the probate process can be complex and a probate lawyer can assist with simplifying the process. Additionally, most probate courts in Texas require an executor to be represented by an attorney.

Contact a Probate Lawyer in Texas Today

If you are the executor or beneficiary of an estate, we can guide you through the probate process. We are also here to help you with your estate plan if you want to try to avoid probate. If you have questions, contact Tootle Law, PLLC, either online or at 830-433-7660 to schedule a FREE CONSULTATION with a lawyer today to discuss probate and estate planning. We provide services throughout Texas while primarily serving Boerne (Kendall County) and the surrounding areas.

Contact Us Today

Tootle Law is committed to assisting clients with issues related to Estate Planning, Probate, Business Law, and Family Law in Texas.

We'll gladly discuss your case with you at your convenience. Contact us today to schedule an appointment.

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