Ten Things You Didn’t Know About Texas Probate

Probate is an important but complex process, and it can be a difficult thing to navigate. That’s especially true if you’re unfamiliar with the laws in Texas, where the probate rules can differ significantly from those of other states. If you’re looking to learn more about the Texas probate process, this blog post is for you.

We’ll cover ten essential facts about the process that you may not know and how they could affect your estate planning needs. Whether you’re dealing with a loved one’s estate, or just want to be informed about what to expect, read on to learn more about Texas probate laws and how they could affect you.

1. In Texas, Probate Proceedings Typically Take Between Four and Twelve Months to Complete.

In Texas, probate proceedings typically take between 4 and 12 months to complete. This is a relatively short timeframe when compared to other states, where the process can sometimes drag on for years. Probate is the legal process through which a person’s estate is settled after they die. The court appoints an executor to oversee the estate and handle all of the necessary paperwork. All debts and taxes must be paid off before any assets can be distributed to the heirs.

The length of time it takes to complete probate will depend on a number of factors, including the size and complexity of the estate, whether or not there are any disputes among the heirs, and how quickly the executor can get everything in order. In most cases, though, the entire process can be wrapped up within a year.

If you’re dealing with the death of a loved one, it’s important to know what to expect from the probate process. While it can be stressful and time-consuming, it’s typically not overly complicated or drawn-out. With a little patience and some help from an experienced attorney, you should be able to get through it without too much trouble.

2. A Person can Avoid Probate in Texas by Creating a Revocable Living Trust, Transferring Property to Joint Tenancy with Right of Survivorship, or by Using a Transfer-on-Death (TOD) or Payable-on-Death (POD) designation.

When it comes to avoiding probate in Texas, there are a few different options available. Perhaps the most popular option is creating a revocable living trust. This type of trust allows you to retain control of your assets during your lifetime, but upon your death, the assets are transferred to your beneficiaries without having to go through probate.

Another way to avoid probate is by transferring property to joint tenancy with right of survivorship. This means that upon your death, the ownership of the property automatically transfers to the surviving joint tenant. Again, this avoids the need for probate.

Finally, you can also use a transfer-on-death (TOD) or payable-on-death (POD) designation. This designation allows you to name a beneficiary who will receive the asset after your death. The beneficiary can then claim the asset without having to go through probate.

3. Texas Law Requires That a Will Must be in Writing, Signed by the Testator (the Person Making the Will), and Witnessed by at Least Two Individuals.

1. Texas law requires that a will must be in writing, signed by the testator (the person making the will), and witnessed by at least two individuals.

2. If a will is not properly executed, it is considered invalid and cannot be used to probate an estate.

3. If you die without a valid will in place, your estate will be subject to intestacy laws, which dictate how your property will be distributed among your heirs.

4. It is generally advisable to consult with an attorney when drafting a will to ensure that it meets all legal requirements and accurately reflects your wishes.

4. A Texas Court can Appoint an Independent Executor, who is not a Beneficiary of the Estate, to Oversee the Probate Process.

In Texas, a court can appoint an independent executor to oversee the probate process, even if that person is not a beneficiary of the estate. This is just one of the many things you may not know about Texas probate.

Probate is the legal process through which a person’s assets are distributed after they die. In Texas, the probate process can be overseen by either an independent executor or a court-appointed administrator. If there is no will, the court will appoint an administrator.

The independent executor has several responsibilities, including:

1. Filing the necessary paperwork with the court
2. Notifying beneficiaries of the estate
3. Collecting and managing estate assets
4. Paying debts and taxes owed by the estate
5. distributing assets to beneficiaries

If you are named as an executor in a will, it is important to understand your responsibilities before beginning the probate process. An experienced attorney can help you navigate the complexities of probate and ensure that everything is done correctly.

5. Texas Has Laws in Place to Prevent Self-Dealing and Conflicts of Interest by the Executor or Administrator of an Estate.

In Texas, the executor or administrator of an estate is legally bound to act in the best interest of the estate and its beneficiaries. Self-dealing and conflicts of interest are prohibited by law.

The executor or administrator must disclose any potential conflicts of interest to the beneficiaries and court. If a conflict of interest exists, the executor or administrator must recuse themselves from any decisions or actions that could benefit them personally.

If the executor or administrator breaches their fiduciary duty, they can be held liable for damages. Beneficiaries can also file a petition with the court to have the executor or administrator removed from their role.

6. Creditors of the Deceased Have Four Months from the Date of Death to Make a Claim Against the Estate in Texas.

When a person dies, their creditors have a limited time frame in which to file a claim against the estate. In Texas, creditors have four months from the date of death to make a claim. This is known as the claims period.

If a creditor does not file a claim during this time frame, they may be barred from doing so at a later date. This means that if you are owed money by the deceased, you need to act quickly and file a claim against the estate. Otherwise, you may lose your right to do so.

The claims period can be extended in some cases, such as if the deceased left behind unpaid taxes or other debts. In these situations, it is important to seek legal advice to ensure that you take appropriate action and do not miss any deadlines.

7. Under Texas Law, Heirs Have the Right to Receive a Portion of the Estate, Known as an “Elective Share,” Even if the Will Leaves Them Nothing.

In Texas, heirs have the right to receive a portion of the estate through what is known as an “elective share.” This means that even if the will leaves them nothing, they are still entitled to a portion of the estate. The elective share is calculated based on the value of the estate and the number of heirs.

8. Certain Assets may not be Subject to Probate in Texas, such as Life Insurance Policies and Retirement Accounts that Have a Designated Beneficiary.

In Texas, some assets are not subject to probate. This means that if you have a life insurance policy or retirement account with a designated beneficiary, your loved ones will not have to go through the probate process to access these funds. Other assets that may not be subject to probate in Texas include:

-Real estate held in joint tenancy or as community property with right of survivorship
-Bank accounts and investment accounts with a payable on death (POD) designation
-Vehicles titled in joint ownership with right of survivorship
-Property held in trust

If you have any questions about whether or not your assets will be subject to probate in Texas, it’s best to consult with an experienced estate planning attorney.

9. Texas Law Allows for the Probate of “Small Estates” in Certain Situations When the Value of the Estate is Less than $75,000.

In Texas, a “small estate” is defined as an estate with a value of less than $75,000. The Texas Probate Code allows for the probate of small estates in certain situations.

If the decedent left a will, the executor may file an affidavit with the court stating that the value of the estate is less than $75,000. The court will then issue an order allowing the executor to proceed without having to go through the formal probate process.

If the decedent died without a will (intestate), any interested party may file an affidavit with the court stating that the value of the estate is less than $75,000. The court will then issue an order allowing the person filing the affidavit to act as administrator of the estate and proceed without having to go through the formal probate process.

The purpose of this provision in the Texas Estates Code is to allow for a simpler and cheaper way to settle small estates. It is important to note that this option is only available if all interested parties agree to it. If there is any disagreement among interested parties about whether or not this option should be used, then the matter must be resolved through formal probate proceedings.

10. Texas has Laws in Place to Protect the Rights of Beneficiaries and Heirs in Probate Proceedings, Including the Right to Notice and to Receive a Copy of the Will and Inventory of the Estate.

If a person dies without a will in Texas, their estate will go through probate and their assets will be divided according to the state’s intestacy laws. If the deceased had a valid will, their assets will be distributed according to the instructions in the will. Either way, the beneficiaries or heirs of the estate have certain rights during the probate process.

Beneficiaries and heirs have the right to notice of the probate proceeding. They should receive a copy of the will (if there is one) and an inventory of the estate’s assets. They also have the right to object to any proposed action by the executor or administrator of the estate. For example, they may object to the sale of certain assets or to how expenses are being paid out of the estate.

If you are a beneficiary or heir of an estate that is going through probate, make sure you understand your rights and what you need to do to protect them.

The Takeaway

Texas probate is a complex and often lengthy process that requires specialized knowledge of state laws. We hope this article has given you some insight into the inner workings and regulations of Texas probate, so that you can make informed decisions when dealing with issues such as estate planning or inheritance. From the importance of obtaining an attorney to understanding various deadlines, we have provided you with essential information about how Texas probate works in order to help ensure a smooth process for all parties involved.

Do You Need an Experienced Probate Attorney to Help?

If you are looking to probate an estate in Texas, you may be wondering if you need to hire an experienced probate attorney. The answer to this question depends on a few factors.

First, you should consider the size of the estate. If the estate is small and there are no complex issues involved, you may not need to hire an attorney. However, if the estate is large or there are complex issues involved, it is generally advisable to hire an attorney.

Second, you should consider whether or not there are contested issues in the probate proceeding. If there are no contested issues, hiring an attorney may not be necessary. However, if there are contested issues, it is generally advisable to hire an attorney.

Third, you should consider your own personal situation and comfort level with handling the probate proceeding yourself. If you feel comfortable handling the probate proceeding yourself, you may not need to hire an attorney. However, if you do not feel comfortable handling the probate proceeding yourself, it is generally advisable to hire an attorney. Note that almost all courts in Texas require an executor or administrator be represented by an experienced probate attorney.

Do you need help with a probate matter in Corpus Christi or the surrounding area?  We are Corpus Christi probate attorneys.  We help clients navigate the probate process.   Call today for a free confidential consultation, 361-298-1109

Our Corpus Christi Probate Attorneys provide a full range of probate services to our clients, including helping with the probate process. Affordable rates, fixed fees, and payment plans are available. We provide step-by-step instructions, guidance, checklists, and more for completing the probate process. We have years of combined experience we can use to support and guide you with probate and estate matters. Call us today for a FREE attorney consultation.


The content of this website is for informational purposes only and should not be construed as legal advice. The information presented may not apply to your situation and should not be acted upon without consulting a qualified probate attorney. We encourage you to seek the advice of a competent attorney with any legal questions you may have.

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