Texas probate administration
Probate administration refers to the legal procedures by which a deceased individual’s property passes to others after his or her death. Probate administration may be necessary, regardless of whether the person died with a will or without a will (which is known as “intestate”).
Generally, the probate administration process involves collecting the decedent’s assets, paying any debts, paying any taxes owed, and distributing property to the heirs. If a will is submitted to probate, the named executor carries out these duties under the supervision of the probate court. If there is no will, an administrator is appointed by the probate court.
How long a probate takes and how much a probate costs (as paid from the estate of the decedent) are variable, dependent upon the facts and circumstances of each case. A well-crafted will expedites the process. Estates with few or no debts are more quickly dealt with than complex ones with ongoing businesses.
The validity of a will is decided in probate administration
Any claims as to the validity of the will are also part of the probate administration proceedings. Wills must be executed in a specific manner to be valid. Additionally, there may be multiple versions of the will with different provisions, all created by the decedent. Typically, the latest version of the will is the one that will take effect, but this is only if that particular will is found to be valid. If the will submitted to probate is found to be invalid, the decedent’s estate will be administered if he or she had died intestate.
Texas probate proceedings are public
Probate administration proceedings are public records; as such, the terms of the will are available to anyone. Notice, typically by publication in a local newspaper, must be given so any individual who may have a claim against the estate of the decedent may do so in a timely manner.
It is important to distinguish the difference between a person’s probate estate and non-probate estate. Certain assets are transferred immediately upon the decedent’s death by operation of law without the need for probate. Examples include life insurance policies, any asset held in joint tenancy with right of survivorship, assets with a pay on death beneficiary, and assets held in a valid trust.
A probate attorney can help you
A consultation with a probate attorney immediately following a loved one’s death is the key to carefully managing an estate and the best way to insure a resolution as quickly and as economically as possible. For a free initial consultation, do not hesitate to contact dedicated probate attorney Paul Romano.