How To Get A Will Probated In Texas - The Texas Probate Process
A step-by-step guide to the Texas
probate system with information
every resident should know.
Get A Will
What Is Probate?
pro·bate [proh-beyt] noun
Law. the official proving of a will as authentic or
valid in a probate court.
In Texas, probate is the process by which a court
legally recognizes a person's death and authorizes
the administration of his or her estate. This process
happens whether or not the individual had a Last
Will and Testament.
Different Types Of Probate
There are several ways to probate a will in Texas.
● Independent Administration
● Dependent Administration
● Muniment of Title
● Small Estate Affidavit
When the decedent, or person who has died, left a valid will
naming an Executor, Independent Administration is the typical
process for probate.
In this process, the
Executor has more
freedom to carry
out his duties
This type of probate is often the process when a
person has died without having a will. There are
two key elements that make it distinct:
● The probate court judge will appoint an
Administrator for the estate.
● The court will strictly oversee all steps of the
probate process, including requiring detailed
reports by the estate Administrator.
Muniment of Title
Muniment of Title proceedings are generally
much simpler and inexpensive than typical
probate. However, this process can only be
done under certain conditions:
● A valid will exists.
● Estate has no unpaid debts except secured
liens (such as real estate).
● Medicaid has no claims against the estate.
Small Estate Affidavit
If the decedent had no
will and the estate is
valued at $50,000
or less, beneficiaries
have a different
option: filing a
Small Estate Affidavit to
collect their property
without going through probate.
How To Probate A Will
The next section of this presentation will take
you step by step through the process of how to
get a will probated in Texas through
Independent or Dependent Administration.
Step 1: Filing with the Court
Getting started with
the Texas probate
process is actually
a simple step. An
application is filed
with the probate
court of the county
where the decedent
resided. For a loved one who resided in Houston,
for example, an application would be filed at the
Harris County probate court.
Step 2: Notice of Probate
Once a probate
application is received,
the County Clerk will
post a notice at the
will be about a two
week wait until a
hearing is held. During that time
is when those who want to contest the will or
administration of the estate can file claims.
Step 3: Validating the Will
The next step in the probate process will be a
hearing presided over by a Texas probate judge.
The judge will do several things:
● Legally recognize the death.
● Verify the will (if one existed).
● Appoint an Administrator or verify the
person named Executor.
Step 4: Taking Inventory
One of the first duties of an Executor or
Administrator will be to catalogue and appraise
all assets held by the estate.
Step 5: Find the Heirs
When finding heirs, also called beneficiaries,
there are 2 different processes that may occur:
1. A valid will: The Executor must locate and
notify beneficiaries named in the will.
2. No will: Heirship is determined by a Texas
probate court in accordance with the state's
laws on inheritance.
Step 6: Notify Creditors
The Executor or Administrator must also notify
creditors of the estate of the death, usually with
a notice published in the local newspaper.
The creditors then have the opportunity to file
claims against the estate for payment of the
Step 7: Resolving Disputes
When someone is contesting a will in Texas or
other grievances have been filed, a probate
judge must hear those issues before the estate is
finalized and assets distributed to heirs.
Step 8: Distributing Assets
When the debts
then distribute the
When Probate Is Not Needed
Most people will go through one of the four
probate processes when a loved one dies.
However, the process is not needed to transfer
certain types of assets to beneficiaries. These
assets are called Non Probate Assets.
Non Probate Assets
Non Probate assets in
● Property held with
joint tenancy with
right of survivorship
● Community property
held with right of survivorship
● Life insurance policy funds
● Annuity survivor benefits
Texas Probate Attorneys
No matter how simple your loved one's estate is, the help of an
experienced Texas probate attorney can be beneficial. Learn
more about probate in Texas and how to plan ahead with the
help of an estate planning attorney by visiting http://www.texas-