How to Open an Estate in Texas after a Loved One Dies
Probating an estate in Texas is a fairly easy process if you follow the right steps. Normally, the next of kin or person named as the executor in a will hires an experienced probate lawyer to prepare the paperwork and appear in court, but it is possible to do it without a lawyer in some jurisdictions. (Many Texas probate courts have local rules requiring the person applying to manage an estate have the assistance of an attorney.) If your loved one planned ahead to make settling the estate simple, you may only need minimal assistance along the way to make sure you're handling matters correctly.
Prepare and file an application for probate
The first step in the probate process is to file an application for probate. The probate court will set the case for a hearing at least ten business days after filing. Other known heirs must be notified of the hearing and will have an opportunity to challenge the will or your application for authority to manage the estate if desired.
Attend the probate hearing and present your case
When the day and time for the hearing arrives, the probate judge listens to your lawyer or to you if you decide to forego an attorney. The judge also listens to any other interested party who may contest your petition or the will. After the hearing, if you have presented sufficient evidence, the judge makes findings of fact such as:
- A person has died
- The probate court has proper jurisdiction to oversee the estate or a portion of it
- You are (or are not) qualified to manage the estate
- The person died either with a valid will or without a valid will
The attorneys at Peterson Law Group are experienced in Texas probate litigation and procedure. We assist executors, trustees, administrators and personal representatives in managing and settling estates and trusts, in addition to providing comprehensive estate planning services. Contact a Bryan, Texas probate litigation attorney at the Peterson Law Group by calling 979-703-7014 today.