Probate in Texas
“Planning ahead is the single most loving thing you can do for the family you leave behind.”
- Channa Borman
The assets owned or debts outstanding of the deceased person (the “decedent”) make up what we commonly refer to as the “decedent’s estate.” Ordinarily, some action must be taken to transfer the property in the estate to the decedent’s surviving heirs or designated beneficiaries, although not all estates require the same actions be taken.
The administration of a decedent’s estate differs depending on the nature of the assets and debts in the estate plus other factual considerations. A few of these other considerations are: What was the value of the estate? Was there a will? Did a will appoint a charitable beneficiary? Is Medicaid owed a reimbursement? If there was no will, who are the surviving heirs? Are there debts owing from the estate other than debts on real property?
At C.E. Borman & Associates, we know the options available for transferring ownership of your loved one’s estate. We also can recommend the least time-consuming and most economical way to administer the estate to accomplish what needs to be done. Our attorneys can explain what is necessary for your particular facts and make recommendations in plain English as to what should be done.
How Does the Probate Process Work?
Any legal process can be worrisome when you don’t know what to expect. In traditional “lawyer lingo,” we probate estates governed by wills and we administer estates whose decedent did not have a will. The basic steps involved with probate or administration in Texas are:
- Your attorney files an application for probate or administration, whichever is applicable, with the Texas Probate Court (usually the County Court or County Court at Law).
- There is a two-week waiting period during which the County Clerk posts a notice at the courthouse about the filing of the probate or administration application. This posting notifies any parties who wish to contest the will or administration and states the time limitation to file any such objections.
- If there is no will, during this two-week period, the court appoints an attorney ad litem to investigate the identity of the decedent’s surviving heirs and report that information to the court.
- If no objections are filed, the matter is uncontested and the court moves forward with a hearing to receive evidence of the terms of the will or, alternatively, the identity of the surviving heirs and necessity for administration of the estate.
- At the hearing, the Probate Court judge makes findings and enters orders, such as:
- Formally recognizing the death
- Establishing whether the decedent died with a will or without one
- Assuming jurisdiction of the estate
- Recognizing the surviving heirs of the estate
- Admitting the will to probate
- Recognizing the executor of the will as qualified to serve the estate
- Appointing an administrator for the estate if there was no will
- Administering the Oath of Executor or Administrator
- Setting the bond to be paid by the estate representative, if necessary
- The Court publishes a notice in the newspaper of the county where the probate or administration is pending. The notification gives creditors the opportunity to file claims and seek payment. Additionally, known creditors may be notified individually to limit the time within which their claims for payment must be filed.
- Within 90 days after the executor or administrator is appointed, the estate attorney provides the court with a detailed list of the decedent’s assets owned at the time of death.
- Once debt claims are paid, the executor or administrator distributes the remaining assets to the will’s named beneficiaries or, if there was no will, according to Texas intestate laws.
- Once the estate’s assets are distributed, the estate attorney requests the Probate Court close the estate.
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At C.E. Borman & Associates, we put our experience to work for you. Call our office today at (979) 846-4090 or contact us online to to arrange an appointment and discuss your legal problem with an attorney.
Our law firm represent clients in Bryan, College Station, Hearne, Franklin, Madisonville and other surrounding cities in Texas.
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Excellence & Experience
C.E. Borman & Associates has been selected for the 2014 College Station Best Businesses Award for Divorce & Family Law
Channa has been nominated for Best Attorney in the Best of the Brazos Valley campaign for 2010 through 2013