How Soon Must You File Probate?
The State of Texas imposes a statute of limitations on filing probate after a person's death. However, generally an executor will want to file much sooner than this time because certain assets in the estate can be lost, such as a family home, if payments are not regularly made. If you are filing probate it is in your best interests to work with Bryan probate attorneys who will help ensure that you follow all the necessary steps.
Texas' Statute of Limitations
From the date of death of the decedent, Texas requires that probate be filed within four years. Failure to file within this time will nullify the will, and while the estate can processed through the court after that time, the court will proceed as though the creator of the will died intestate. When the four year statute of limitation is up, the executor will need to file an Affidavit of Heirship, and the court will make a Determination of Heirship.
If a spouse survives the decedent, and there is no debt attached to the estate, it is possible for this individual to have the will admitted in probate court as a Muniment of Title. This basically transfers the title of the home and other simple assets to the surviving spouse. The muniment of title is then recorded with the county, and the property re-entered in the survivor's name.
Probating the Will
Sometimes a will is accepted into probate if a reasonable explanation is given for the delay. In such a case, the will is then probated as it normally would be. Once the executor's petition for probating of the will is accepted, this individual is to locate all the named beneficiaries and notify them of the proceeding. The executor maintains all bank accounts and pays any bills that are necessary to protect assets in the estate. When finally the will is dispositioned by the court, the executor then pays all taxes and debts owed by the estate, and then distributes the remaining assets in accordance with the will's instructions.
Sometimes beneficiaries contest the validity of a will during probate. This will likely cause the amount of time required to probate the will to be extended, particularly if a trial is necessary. It is worth keeping in mind that while there is a limitation on the time within which a will is offered for probate, there is no such limitation on how long the probate proceedings may last.
If You Need Help Probating a Will
If you are the named executor to an estate, it is important that you work with Texas probate attorneys who can guide you through this often complicated process. Call Peterson Law Group today to arrange a consultation today at 979-703-7014.