What Happens When You Probate a Will in Texas?
When a loved one dies, there are several things that must be done. One of the most important tasks to attend to is your loved one's will. In Texas, as in most other states, a will must go through probate in order to determine its validity, a process that can take several months or longer.
The first thing to do is find the will. The person named as the executor in the will bears the bulk of responsibility for making sure the will is followed, and he or she should seek the advice of an experienced Texas estate planning attorney as soon as possible to gain a thorough understanding of the process.
One of the executor's early steps is to collect information on the estate's assets and liabilities. He or she must then file an Application for Probate of Will and Issuance of Letters of Administration. Filing fees for probating a will vary by location and are based on the type of document you are filing.
After filing, the probate court will set a hearing to allow any interested person an opportunity to challenge the will. If the court sets a hearing, the executor is required to be there.
Once the will's validity is established, the probate court will issue Letters Testamentary to the executor. Letters Testamentary refer to the official document that give the executor the legal authority to take possession of the deceased's assets and determine which liabilities should be paid.
Texas law is very specific about steps an executor must take to notify parties who might have a claim against the estate. It is the executor's job to make sure notice is provided according to the law. Other duties of the executor may include preparing and submitting an inventory and accounting of the estate within certain time limits, and obtaining appraisals when appropriate.
An executor's job is extremely important and can be demanding, depending on the size of the estate and the complexity of the will. Choose your executor carefully and be sure to include a clause in your will that the cost of legal fees necessary to help the executor carry out his duty is a legitimate expense of the estate.
Whether you are in the planning stages of making your will, or in need of advice for the probate process, contact an experienced Bryan-College Station, Texas estate planning attorney. The Peterson Law Group is committed to finding solutions for our clients, including advising clients of creative ways to legally avoid some of the probate process. Call us today to schedule a consultation at 979-703-7014 or fill out our online contact form.