What Happens During And Throughout The Probate Process?
First, your attorney is going to draft an application to probate the will. He’s going to deposit that will with the probate clerk, file the application, give notice to the court and the heirs, and ask for a hearing. Before we get to the hearing, we’re going to make sure we have all the citations and have identified everyone in the will. Those individuals have the option of either attending the hearing or waiving their presence and acknowledging that they’ve been notified of the probate hearing. Once at the hearing, the attorney and the applicant will provide some very simple testimony.
The judge will grant letters testamentary. You now have control of the property in that estate. An attorney helps the applicant by keeping track of all the subsequent legal filings that have to be made. Creditors have to be notified, so they are given a chance to make a claim on the person’s estate. A good attorney can save a person quite a bit of money in knowing how to notify those creditors. A secured debt, such as a lien or property taxes, is secured so generally those cannot be discharged. However, unsecured debts like credit card debt can often times be handled to the benefit of the estate by knowing the law and filing the proper motions. Taxes have to be filed and the estate will eventually be closed.
How Long Does It Generally Take To Go Through The Probate Process In Texas?
If we can locate all the heirs and get waivers, we can generally get a hearing in a month. By the time we open the estate, administer the estate, submit it to the court, and it’s affirmed as being true and correct, it could be six months to a year. Often, the timeliness issue revolves around selling the real properties or dealing with missing heirs. The property could sell fairly quickly, or it could take a while. If we’re not going to sell the property and we’re going to distribute it, then that it is generally very quick.
What Outcome Should I Expect Once The Probate Process Is Complete?
Once the probate process is complete, someone should expect that they receive letters testamentary to allow them to take control of the property in the estate. Once they have accounted for all the assets in that estate, those assets will need to be distributed per the will or per the Texas rules of succession and distribution. A good situation is when we do this quickly and efficiently; the heirs are happy and the applicant has done everything properly. The matter is then closed.
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