The Texas Estates Code sets out a process for overseeing the distribution of an estate’s assets.
Intestate estates (those where the decedent left no will), and an estate with assets that are not exempt, must go through probate.
Though the process is relatively straightforward, several issues that might interrupt the distribution of the estate to heirs can arise.
From how to start the probate process to how to close it out, Massingill Attorneys & Counselors at Law know how to proceed.
What Is the Probate Process?
Probate is the legal process through which a court oversees the settlement of an estate after someone passes. During probate, a Texas court validates a will and certifies an estate executor.
They also ensure that all valid debts against the estate are paid and that assets are appropriately distributed to heirs.
Steps in the Probate Process
There are several general steps in the probate process. An experienced attorney at Massingill can help you complete every step in a timely manner.
Starting the Process
First, the estate executor or another interested party must submit a will and file it for probate in the county where the decedent lived. Filing for probate begins the formal probate process.
The county clerk will then publicly announce the petition giving creditors and beneficiaries a chance to make claims against the estate.
After the petition is announced, the court holds a formal hearing. During the hearing, the court recognizes the will and confirms an executor.
After the hearing, the executor has 90 days to inventory the estate and appraise its value.
They must also settle the estate by notifying beneficiaries, paying valid debts on the estate, and filing a final tax return.
While the executor performs their duties, disputes might arise. Common disputes include contesting the validity of debts, the valuation of assets, and the will’s validity.
Before the executor can distribute the estate, these disputes must be settled.
Distribution of Assets
The final step is distributing assets to heirs and closing out the estate. Once the executor closes out the estate, the probate process is over.
How Long Does the Probate Process Take?
The length of the probate process differs depending on the needs of the estate. Different factors that might affect the speed of the process include:
- How the decedent arranged the estate,
- The number of creditors with claims against the estate,
- The size of the estate,
- Whether the will is contested,
- The types of assets the estate owns, and
- How the estate must be taxed.
A probate attorney from Massingill can help you understand what factors affect a probate process in which you have a legal interest.
Massingill Attorneys & Counselors at Law Can Handle All Your Probate Needs
At Massingill, we offer straightforward flat-fee legal services to cover all your probate needs.
Our skilled probate attorneys know how to simply explain complex legal processes, so our clients are never in the dark.
We will handle the necessary details so you can focus on what matters most. Contact us today and schedule a consultation.