Taking the Stress Out of Probate
When a person dies, Texas law dictates who receives their property. If a person has a valid Will or Trust, then the law says the deceased person’s property passes to the people or charities named in the Will or Trust. If a person dies without a Will or Trust, the Texas Estates Code controls the distribution of the person’s property. In the deceased had a plan to avoid probate, then the person’s estate (all of the things and real estate he or she left behind) usually will go through a process called “Probate.”
What is Probate?
Probate is the process by which a deceased person’s debts are paid, and his or her property is identified, valued, and distributed to the person named in a Will or to the heirs dictated by law. Probate is a court process that is overseen by a judge and administered by the personal representative of the estate, known as the estate “executor” if the decedent died with a Will, or “administrator” if the decedent died without a Will.
Texas offers a few options for going through the probate process. The most common is independent administration. With an independent administration, the executor does not need to post a bond. The executor also has greater freedom to take many steps toward settling the estate without getting court permission first. These steps include actions such as paying debts of the estate, selling estate property, and distributing property to people that a Will says should receive it.
Less often, probate estates go through dependent administration. If a person dies without a Will, this is often the only option available. This process requires greater supervision by the probate court. In a dependent administration, the administrator (as to an executor named in a Will) must post a bond, ensuring that he or she will properly carry out duties. The estate must remain open for a minimum of six months. Permission from the court must be obtained before taking most actions, including the sale of estate property or payment of estate expenses or debts. In a dependent administration, the administrator must make regular accountings to the probate court, which provides transparency about the executor’s actions to the court and the estate’s heirs.
In addition to these types of formal administration, there are other options for the transfer of property if the estate is small and uncomplicated. You can learn more about the probate process here and the different types of probate here.
We Can Lift the Burden of Probate Off Your Shoulders
Most people have little or no experience with the Texas probate process, which can be complicated. An executor named in a Will (or an administrator appointed by the court if there is no valid Will) may reside outside the state. These factors, not to mention the fact that a loved one has just died, can make the probate process seem overwhelming. Dawson Parrish Springman can help families through this difficult time.
At Dawson Parrish Springman, we lift the burden of probate off the personal representative’s shoulders by offering professional guidance and support. With our attorney’s help, you will have peace of mind that everything is being taken care of according to the law and your loved one’s wishes.
Stephen Turkett is an experienced probate attorney with over 20 years experience in such matters. We can help with probating a Will or probating an estate without a Will, including a determination or declaration of heirship. The firm also assists with closing out revocable living Trusts and work with other probate issues, including Affidavits of Heirship, community administration, and Small Estates Affidavits. We can advise families facing Medicaid Estate Recovery (MERP), as well.
Get Attentive and Personalized Assistance with Texas Probate
At Dawson Parrish Springman, we handle all aspects of Texas probate with diligence and care. We will explain the probate process in general, as well as the details that apply to your specific circumstances. We understand that handling the administration of a loved one or friend’s estate can be difficult, and our focus is on helping you through the process compassionately and efficiently, with as little stress, expense, and delay as possible. Schedule a free consultation to learn more about how we can help you in this difficult time. We have offices conveniently located in downtown Fort Worth, north Fort Worth/Keller, and Midland. Call us at 817-873-1462 or 432-255-5549 or send a message online and we will respond promptly.