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Texas Will Probate Proceedings and Texas Will Probate Laws

The Texas Will probate process typically consists of reviewing a Will to determine if the Will is a valid self proving Will under Texas probate law, determining if the decedent's estate requires an estate administration, obtaining a death certificate, drafting and filing an application to probate the will and seek letters of administration or testamentary, preparing proof of death and oath documents, setting and attending a hearing to probate the will, fulfilling all notice requirements, collecting all estate assets, dealing with estate debts, and distributing estate assets to rightful heirs. 

Often it is advised to hire a Texas Will Probate Lawyer to work with the executor, beneficiaries, and family to assist with the Will probate process.  There are many variations and complications that can occur during the probate process and it is often important to have an attorney familiar with the process help a grieving family with estate administration.

What Is a Will?

A Will is a written legal declaration of a person's intentions which he or she wants or wills to be performed after his or her death.  The Will makes dispositions of property, sets up trusts, and establishes guardians upon a person's death.  Under Texas law a Will must identify the Testator, be written with "testamentary intent", and be executed with requisite testamentary formalities.  It also requires that the Testator have "testamentary capacity" including being of sound mind.  A Will can be straight forward and simple or very complex depending on the estate and what the Testator wants to accomplish.  In drafting a Will a Texas lawyer will need to gather information from the Testator including estate assets; the names of beneficiaries, executors, trustees, & representatives;  and the goals of the Testator.  

How Do I Know if My Loved One Had a Will

In most situations, those close to a person will know if they had a Will and where that Will is kept.  Common places that Will are kept include safety deposit boxes, a safe, at offices, or in a home with other important documents.  In some situations, a Will can even be filed at the local court house or kept by a trusted friend or lawyer.  Wills are typically easy to spot as they typically state on them that they are the last Will and testament of the decedent.

  How Do I Know if the Will is Valid

With many do it yourself form Wills as well as people that attempt to write their own Wills, it is often difficult to know if a Will is valid or not.  It will often take a review by an experienced probate lawyer to determine if a Will is valid and will survive the probate process.  It is important to remember that in many Texas counties including Travis County, the probate court requires the actual Will and not just a copy of the Will.  If the actual Will is not available there is a presumption that the actual Will was destroyed and revoked by the Decedent.

What Happens During the Will Probate Process

After a person dies, the Will and a death certificate need to be filed in the probate court or county court where the decedent resided when they died.  After both the Will and Death Certificate are filed with the proper court, a hearing has to held where the death of the decedent is proven, the Will is to be determined to be valid, and the executor is sworn in and appointed. 

This process is called probate a Will.  It is often helpful to have a probate lawyer assist at the executor at court in proving that the decedent actually died, the Will is valid, and the executor is qualified and able to serve as the executor.  Once the Will is probated and the executor is appointed the probate attorney assists in making sure that proper notices are given to creditors, locating assets, and preparing an inventory which needs to be filed with the court.

The Executor

An executor is the person in a Will who carries out the wishes of the decedent as is in the decedent's Will.  The Executor or executrix in female form is a legal term referring to a person named by a maker of a will, or nominated by the testator, to carry out the directions of the will. Typically the executor is the person responsible for offering the will for probate. The executor's duties include gathering and protecting the assets in an estate, obtaining information about any other potential heirs; collecting and arranging for payment of debts of the estate; notifying, approving or disapproving creditors' claims; and the disbursing property to the beneficiaries as designated in the will.  An executor also makes sure estate taxes are calculated, necessary forms are filed and tax payments made, and in all ways assists the attorney for the estate. Also the executor makes all donations as left in bequests to charitable and other organizations as directed in the will. In most circumstances the executor is the representative of the estate for all purposes, and has the ability to sue or be sued on behalf of the estate. The executor also holds legal title to the estate property, but may not use that property for the executor's own benefit unless expressly permitted by the terms of the will.

Where there is no will, a person is said to have died intestate - "without testimony". As a result, there can be no actual 'testimony' to follow, and hence there can be no executor. If there is no will or where the executors named in a will do not wish to act, an administrator of the deceased's estate may instead be appointed. The generic term for executors or administrators is personal representative.

The executor  will typically work with a lawyer to file the Will for probate, obtain letters of testament, make the necessary public notices concerning the estate, determine & protect assets, calculate liabilities of the estate, pull together an inventory of the estate, and distribute the assets to the beneficiaries.  

For questions on Texas Will Probate matters, please e-mail Texas Will Probate lawyer Jason S. Coomer at texasprobatelawyer@texaslawyers.com or use our contact form.

For more information on Texas probate matters, Texas Guardianships, Texas Estate Planning and Texas Trusts, follow the links on this website, submit an inquiry, email us at texasprobate@texaslawyers.com or call us toll free at 1-866-474-1477.    

This Law Offices of Jason S. Coomer, PLLC website provides Texas probate information including probating Wills, helping Executors, drafting Wills, contesting Wills, filing Suits to Determine Rightful Heirs of property and estates, filing Small Estate Affidavits, filing Affidavits of Heirship, filing Applications for Guardianships, fighting Involuntary Guardianships, filing Guardianship Reports, filing breach of fiduciary duty claims, estate planning, and clearing title to property & assets.

This Texas probate information website was created by Texas probate lawyer Jason S. Coomer and is intended only as general information on
probating Wills, helping Executors, drafting Wills, contesting Wills, filing Suits to Determine Rightful Heirs of property and estates, filing Small Estate Affidavits, filing Affidavits of Heirship, filing Applications for Guardianships, fighting Involuntary Guardianships, filing Guardianship Reports, filing breach of fiduciary duty claims, estate planning, and clearing title to property & assets.  Please contact Texas attorney Jason S. Coomer for or a licensed Texas lawyer for legal advice pertaining to Texas Probate matters.

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