Who Decides Where an Estate Is Probated?
Every state has rules dictating where an estate may be probated if a person dies within the state, and Texas is no exception. Under Texas law, an estate may be probated in the county where the deceased resided if he or she lived in Texas. If a person died in Texas but lived elsewhere, the person's estate can be probated in the county where he or she died.
But wait, there's more …
Texas law states that a person's estate can be probated here in Texas even if a person did not live in Texas and did not die in Texas, as long as the person's principal estate was in Texas or the person's next of kin resides in Texas. In either case, the estate can be probated in the county where the principal property of the estate is located or where the next of kin lives.
What if the heirs don't agree where to commence probate?
As described above, Texas law conveniently provides multiple options when it is time to decide where to probate a deceased person's estate, but too many options can be a problem when heirs can't agree. In situations where two or more courts have proper jurisdiction over probate proceedings, the first applicant to the courthouse generally wins, as long as the application contains sufficient facts to invoke the jurisdiction of the court.
Can we have the estate transferred?
The Texas Probate Code provides a mechanism to apply for a transfer for the sake of the convenience of the estate. For example, let's say a person died in one county, resided in a second county and the majority of the estate was located in a third county. Venue would be proper in any of the three counties, but the most convenient place to probate the estate is probably where the property is located. If probate begins in one of the first two counties, it wouldn't be too difficult to get the proceedings transferred to the third county.
Call today to speak to an experienced probate litigation attorney
If you are an heir wondering how to begin the probate process, or anticipating issues with another heir, contact our office to learn about your rights and how the law applies to your situation. At Peterson Law Group, our probate litigation attorneys are prepared to fight for you and carry out the wishes of your lost loved one. Schedule a consultation today by calling 979-703-7014 or visit us online to request a meeting.