Denton County Estate Planning

January 18, 2023

How do you do probate in Texas?

Probate is the legal process by which a deceased person’s assets are distributed to their heirs or beneficiaries according to the terms of their will. In Texas, probate is governed by the Texas Probate Code.

When a person dies with a valid will, the probate process is called “testate” administration. The will must be filed with the court, and an executor is appointed to carry out the instructions in the will. The executor is responsible for identifying and collecting the assets of the deceased, paying any debts and taxes, and distributing the assets to the beneficiaries.

If a person dies without a valid will, the probate process is called “intestate” administration. In this case, the court will appoint an administrator to handle the estate and the assets will be distributed according to the state’s laws of intestacy, which determine how the assets are to be distributed among the deceased person’s heirs.

In Texas, probate proceedings can be informal or formal. Informal probate is a simpler process that is typically used when there is no dispute among the heirs or beneficiaries. Formal probate is a more formal and structured process that is used when there is a dispute or when certain assets are not covered by informal probate.

It’s worth noting that not all assets are subject to probate in Texas. Some assets, such as life insurance policies, bank accounts with a payable on death (POD) or transfer on death (TOD) designation, or assets held in trusts, will bypass the probate process and go directly to the designated beneficiaries.

Probate can be a complex process, and it’s recommended to consult with a probate lawyer to ensure that the process runs smoothly and that the assets are distributed according to the law and the wishes of the deceased.