Process of Probating a Will and Administering an Estate in Texas
Call 1-800-929-1725 for an appointment at any one of our offices in Wharton and El Campo in Wharton County, Richmond and Fulshear in Fort Bend County and Bay City in Matagorda County. Wadler, Perches, Hundl & Kerlick attorneys have many years of experience in helping clients through the probate process when the decedent passes with a will and in helping set up an administration of the decedent’s estate when there is no will. In this video, Attorney and Shareholder, Philip Hundl describes some of the steps in the probate process if a will exists and the estate administration process if there is no will.
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Summary of the Probating a Will Video
Hello. I’m Philip Hundl. I’m an attorney here with Wadler, Perches, Hundl & Kerlick, and like to talk to you little bit today about what happens when someone, a loved one of yours passes away, and you begin to hear from your friends and family that the will needs to be probated, or what do we do about the probate of the loved one’s estate so want to briefly talk about some of the steps in the process of probating a will in Texas.
First, when a person passes away, a loved one of yours passes away, there are a lot of decisions to be made right away from funeral expenses to funeral arrangements. So it’s a trying time and just know that it’s not necessary immediately to probate the will. You have time to probate the decedent’s will. So first and foremost, when you have a loved one that passes away, first tend to the family matters, the funeral arrangements.
There is without a doubt a grieving process so deal with those issues first. And then normally, within a week or two weeks or three weeks would be a time to go talk to an attorney, an attorney that is familiar with estates and probate in Texas, and visit with that attorney about probating the decedent’s will. At that meeting, you would want to bring the original will. If you don’t have the original will, because let’s say the original will is at the bank in a lockbox, if you have a copy, bring a copy to that initial meeting with your attorney, and the attorney can review the will to determine if it meets the formalities of a proper will, which means that it was signed by the decedent and also witnessed. Once the attorney has been able to review the will, the attorney would be able to consult you on the appropriate process and the probate steps to take, which would typically be filing an application to probate the will.
Now if the original will cannot be found, but you do have a copy there, the Probate Code in Texas or now known as the Estates Code allows for probating of a copy of the will. There are some formalities to go through.
Let’s say you’re in a situation where the decedent doesn’t have a will. Well, what can you do? And what should you do? If the decedent has an estate or has owns assets, then what you would want to do is visit with an attorney about filing an application for an administration of that person’s estate. Also part of that process, because there is no will, you would also be asking for the court to determine heirship. In other words, who will be the heirs or the beneficiaries of the decedent’s estate?
There’s a certain period of time that upon the filing of the application to probate the will or the application to administer the estate, there’s a waiting period, and then you can have a hearing in front of the probate court, or probate judge. Typically, it’s about a two week period to actually probate the will, or have the court open up and create an administration. And at that time, the judge would grant letters testamentary or letters of administration. Once that is done, the applicant, which would most likely be the spouse of the decedent or one of the decedent’s children would be named as the executor, according to the persons named in the will or the administrator if designated by the court.
Once that’s done, there’s a 90 day period until an affidavit is required to be filed with the court, and the affidavit is an affidavit of an inventory. There’s two options now in Texas. The executor may file an inventory of the decedent’s estate with the court or file an affidavit stating that an inventory has been prepared, and can be provided to creditors if necessary, but is not filed with the court. So in summary those are the initial steps in probating someone’s will or creating an administration of their estate if the decedent didn’t have a will.