ABOUT PROBATE IN TEXAS
When a person passes away and leaves property that has not been transferred to another person by means of a trust, joint ownership with right of survivorship, or payments to beneficiaries, property and assets in Texas will be distributed through the probate process.
Probate is the process in which a court legally recognizes a person’s death and facilitates the payment of a decedent’s debts and the distribution the decedent’s estate. Decedent is the term courts and attorneys use to describe a deceased person. The court’s role is to oversee this process, protect the interests of all beneficiaries of the estate, and to mitigate the risk of wrongdoings.
If the decedent dies with an established will, the executor designated in the will must be the person to file for and begin the probate process. In Texas, state and local court rules govern the time periods in which the executor must adhere to in probating the will. It is equally critical to complete the probate process in the correct jurisdiction.
Typically, in Texas is that the executor of the will has four years from the date of death of the person who drafted the will, or the testator, to file for probate. If the executor does not file the will within that allotted time period, it is likely laws of intestacy will determine how the estate’s assets are distributed. Intestacy refers to situations in which there is no will.
Probate in Texas can last between six months and one year and can be a complex and exhausting process. Working with an attorney will provide you and your family peace of mind during what is likely a difficult time.