What It Means to Probate a Will
The notion of probating a will seems to some people terrible. Perhaps this is because the term sounds something like “probation.” Both are derived from the Latin word Probo, which simply means “to test or approve.” Probating a will is, then, the process of testing the validity of the will and making sure its instructions are carried out. A probate lawyer in College Station can help you set up a will in accordance with Texas law that will stand the test of probate.
Wills and Probate
An estate planning attorney in College Station will work with you to develop a viable will. You can write the will on your own, but in order for it to be valid in the eyes of the probate court, it must be either an attested will or holographic will. The former must be handwritten, signed by you, and witnessed by two persons over the age of 14. The holographic will must be completely in your own handwriting, void of legalese. This latter type does not need to be witnessed.
Part of the purpose of probate is to ensure that the will is valid, and is your last will and testament. To this end, the court will make sure that your signature is valid. The court may also call upon the witnesses to the will to its validity. You can avoid this matter by including a self-proving affidavit, although the absence of this affidavit does not invalidate a will that is otherwise valid.
The Probate Process
The process of probating a will is not complex, but it can be quite time consuming. A probate lawyer in College Station will discuss with you options to help keep assets in your estate from being tied up in probate, but here is a summary of the process:
- Upon one's death, the executor of the estate files the will in the probate court of the decedent's county of residence.
- The probate court issues a notice to all interested parties and schedules a hearing. Interested parties included those who have a claim against the estate, such as creditors, as well as beneficiaries. The court also names an executor to manage the estate.
- At the hearing, the will's validity will be determined. The executor should provide a final complete inventory of the estate to the court.
- The court may need to schedule more hearings if challenges are made. The assistance of a probate lawyer in College Station is essential in such situations.
- All taxes, fees, and other claims against the estate are paid, and then the assets are distributed to the beneficiaries as per the will's instructions.
If You Have Questions or Concerns
If you need assistance with a will or any other estate/probate matter, a probate lawyer in College Station at Peterson Law Group can help. We strive to provide the highest standard of legal representation to our clients. Call us today at 979-703-7014.