About Probate: A Few Common Questions
If you have interests and/or responsibilities related to the administration of an estate, Craig W. Watson Attorney At Law is here to provide personalized answers and direction. We often address questions and concerns such as these for our clients.
After a recent death in the family, is there a hurry to start the probate process?
It is natural for your family to take time to mourn and remember your deceased loved one while you adjust to the loss. Fortunately, the law gives you time, since you have up to four years to file a will in probate court. Guidance from an experienced probate lawyer who is sensitive to your priorities can take the pressure off while you deal with time-sensitive issues such as a funeral, a burial and family or business matters that require immediate attention.
My family and I believe that our loved one’s assets are all included in trusts. Will probate be necessary?
You are fortunate, indeed, that your deceased family member was proactive and thorough in estate planning. If a decedent had creditors or failed to put all of their assets into the trust, probate might be necessary. To prevent unexpected legal troubles, consult with an attorney to make sure you have uncovered all assets and addressed all legal requirements.
I have been named as the executor for an estate. What steps will I need to take to fulfill my obligations?
The steps of the probate process in Texas typically follow the order as seen below. Many of these steps, including the last one, will be the executor’s responsibility. Others will be done by a probate court judge or a county clerk.
- Step 1: Filing of an application for probate with the court
- Step 2: Posting the statutorily required notice at the courthouse
- Step 3: Validating the will and verifying the executor or appointing an administrator
- Step 4: Cataloging and reporting assets held by the estate within 90 days
- Step 5: Identifying beneficiaries (named in a will) or heirs (if there was no will)
- Step 6: Notifying creditors, who may file claims against the estate
- Step 7: Resolving disputes out of court, in mediation or before a judge
- Step 8: Distributing assets after debts and disputes are resolved
A probate law attorney’s guidance is invaluable for most people who are named as executors or appointed as administrators of estates.