Texas Simplified Probate Procedures
Probate is the act of proving that a will, or any document classified as a will, was signed and executed in accordance with legal requirements. There is an accepted national set of probate laws that exists for this determination.
However, each state, including Texas, also has its own unique laws to establish the validity and certification of a will in addition to these national probate laws.
Texas Probate Procedures
In addition to national probate laws, Texas has additional state laws for probate procedures. Typically, one of two procedures is followed for probate–when the deceased leaves a will or when the deceased does not leave a will.
If a person dies and has left a will, one of two procedures are followed. In one procedure the will is certified through testamentary letters. The will names the executor of the estate and the letters of testamentary authorize the executor of the will to deal with the property the deceased has left behind.
This includes the selling off of the estate to pay debts, dividing up the estate among heirs and the executor receiving a portion of the proceeds as commission. In Texas, typically the executor is granted approximately five percent of the proceeds and the executor is typically a lawyer. This procedure is governed by the law in Texas Code 145, 282, 241, and 222.
Final settlement of a person’s estate must be done within three years of a person’s death, otherwise a probate court has the freedom to replace the appointed executor.
Will as Muniment of Title
The second procedure for someone who has left a will behind before passing away is the Will as Muniment of Title.
This is applicable when the estate of a deceased person has already been taken care of before death. This means that all debts on the estate of the deceased were paid prior to the person’s death and there is no need for an executor because the estate has already been divided among heirs in the will.
The will must be validated as in the previous procedure, but there is no need for an executor in this case because the process is not as involved and the stipulations for who receives what from the estate have been laid out in the will. This procedure of Texas Probate Law is detailed in Texas Probate Codes 89 A, B, and C and Code 73.
When a person dies intestate, this means he passed away without the creation of a will. In certain cases, such as when the estate of the deceased is large, the descendants may want to appoint an executor to take care of the property left by the deceased. However, most of the time, estates are small, and the heirs will take care of the probate procedures themselves.
They do so by filing affidavits regarding the property and to verify their rights as heirs to the property or estate. There are also certain procedures for the surviving spouse to follow, in addition to procedures for dividing community property. Intestate probate law in Texas, or any state, is often the most difficult and complicated.
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