Denton County Estate Planning

February 5, 2022

How do I probate an estate?

The answers below are no substitute for legal advice. Schedule a consulation with The Fetty Firm, P.C. by clicking contact above, calling, or scheduling on our consultation calendar. Allow Rashelle Fetty to take the time to help you problem solve all your needs with unique, relevant, useful solutions.

What does it mean to “probate an estate”?

Probate is the process by which a court legally recognizes a person’s death and authorizes the administration—that is, the management and distribution—of his or her estate. The simple purpose of probate is to transfer the assets out of a deceased person’s name and into the names of the living.

My family member died but did not leave a will. What do I need to do?

The estate may need to be probated, depending on (1) the size of the deceased’s estate and (2) what property is a part of the estate.

Do I always need to probate an estate to take care of the decedent’s property?

Some of the decedent’s property may pass without the need for probate, because it is not a part of the probate estate. These are generally items that already have assigned beneficiaries.  Examples of property that does not need to go through the probate process include:

  • Life insurance. If the life insurance policy has a living beneficiary, the beneficiary should contact the insurance company directly about receiving the benefits.
  • Bank accounts. If there is a “payable on death” form associated with an account, there is no need for the account to be part of the probate estate. The money can be accessed from the account by taking a death certificate to the bank.
  • Retirement accounts. If there is a retirement account, contact the company managing the account directly to find out about the beneficiaries and any payout.
  • TODD. If there is a Transfer on Death Deed (TODD) related to any real property (such as land or a house), the deed may transfer the real estate without the need for probate.

Tarrant County Estate Planning