The loss of a loved one is difficult and will often leave family and friends with many questions about what to do next. In Texas, you have up to 4 years to probate an estate and have an executor or an administrator appointed. See this Checklist for things that the family can take care of to help protect themselves and their loved one’s estate while they begin the grieving process.
What is Probate?
Probate is the Texas court process wherein the estate of a decedent,the person who has died, is administered. Probate can take place when there is a Will and when there is no Will. Generally, the Texas probate process involves:
· Filing an application with the appropriate court;
· Having a hearing where an executor or administrator is appointed to manage the estate;
· Giving the appropriate notice to beneficiaries and creditors;
· Identifying and collecting the decedent’s assets;
· Preparing an inventory of estate assets and filing it with the court;
· Liquidating liabilities;
· Paying necessary taxes; and
· Distributing property to beneficiaries.
These activities are carried out by the executor or administrator of the estate, usually under the supervision of the probate court or other court of appropriate jurisdiction and, in most cases, with the guidance of a probate lawyer.
Will I Have to go Through Probate?
Not every estate will need to go through probate. An estate might need to go forward with a probate process when there are assets, such as real estate and bank accounts, that need to be transferred to beneficiaries, when there is debt that needs to be settled, and/or there is business that needs to be finalized. There are several types of probate Texas. Each type of probate has different pros and cons and not every estate will qualify for each type of probate. It is important to get advice from an attorney who has experience with probate and help you navigate through the seemingly complicated waters.