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Questions About The Probate Process

Probate is the legal process where the court settles the debts and distributes the assets of an individual following their death. If there is a properly drafted will, the court will follow the directives of the will as closely as possible in distributing assets. If the will is not properly written or there is no will, state law is used to determine how the deceased’s assets are distributed. Most people are thrust into the probate process unexpectedly with little knowledge about how the process works. If you have questions about the probate process, listed below are some of the more commonly asked questions we hear about the probate process.

Do I Need To Hire An Attorney To Probate A Will In Texas?

In almost all cases, you will need to hire an attorney to probate a will in Texas. If there is anyone named in will other than the person who applies for probate, the court considers the applicant to be practicing law without a license. If you are designated as an executor of an estate, you must be represented by an attorney in probate court.

How Much Does It Cost To Probate A Will?

The cost of probating a will depends on the complexity of the will and the size of the estate. The more creditors, assets and beneficiaries there are, the higher the cost. Disputes among beneficiaries and challenges to the will also drive up costs.

How Long Does The Probate Process Take?

A typical will takes between six months and a year but can go on for much longer. In general, the smaller the size and complexity of the estate, the quicker the process.

Is There A Deadline For Filing A Will For Probate?

With the exception of the Muniment of Title form of probate, Texas law allows you up to four years from the date of death to file a will for probate. After four years, the decedent is considered to have died without a will, and the court distributes assets according to Texas law.

What Happens If The Deceased Did Not Have A Will?

When there is no will, the Probate Code is used to identify heirs and designate the size of each heir’s inheritance. Forms of probate used when there is no will include:

  • Affidavit of heirship
  • The court created independent administration
  • Dependent administration
  • Determination of heirship
  • Small estate affidavit

The form of probate used will depend on the size of the estate and the amount of debt owed by the decedent.

For More Information On Probate, Contact The Farias Law Firm

To schedule an initial consultation with our estate planning attorneys, call (713) 226-7999 or fill out our online contact form.

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