Probate: involves seeking approval from the Court to transfer titles to property and respond to the debts of an estate.
Independent Administration in Texas: Is the process where the Court can approve an executor or an administrator to handle the administration of the Estate without further supervision of the Court.
Independent administration can help avoid extra expenses and delays by allowing the executor or administrator to settle the affairs of the Estate without repeated hearing to seek approval from a Judge.
Dependent Administration in Texas: Dependent Administration usually happens when no will exists for an Estate. This requires a higher level of supervision from the Court. The Court will appoint an administrator to handle the estate via Letters of Administration. The administrator must get approval from the judge for every step in the process. This can become timely and costly for the estate to obtain approval throughout the process.
Muniment of Title: Is a simple and inexpensive way to transfer assets as long as a will exists. It can be used when 1.) a will exists 2.) there are no outstanding debts, other than the homestead and 3.) Medicaid has no claim against the estate for recovery of benefits. A muniment of title is a process where you file the will with the court for confirmation that it was properly executed and provides evidence of ownership without any administration of the estate.
Small Estate Affidavit: If an estate has no will, no conflicts of interest, and does not value over $75,000.00, then the heirs can file a simple affidavit to collect the estate. Small Estate Affidavits are filed with the Court and approved by the Judge. They are only available to the spouse and children of the decedent, or an adult child still living in the home.
Handling the estate of a loved one is never an easy task. If you have questions regarding Probate or any other Estate service, do not hesitate to contact us. We are here to help. Follow this link to the Texas State Law Library for more information regarding Texas Probate Laws.
Separate Property is that which is owned before marriage. It can also include gifts received or inherited during marriage.
Community property is all remaining property that is not separate property.
So what qualifies as property in wills and probate? It includes real property such as, land, land improvements, and mineral rights. It also includes personal property such as, cash, bank accounts, clothing, home furnishings, automobiles, stocks and bonds, life insurance policies, and retirements accounts. It is important to note that many benefit policies will be administered to the beneficiary listed on the account. This property will not be dispersed to heirs if a beneficiary exists. A will also cannot settle any non-probate assets.
Non-Probate Assets include: Property passing by contract (life insurance, IRA’s employee benefits), property passing by survivor-ship (joint bank accounts, joint stocks and bonds, and savings bonds), and property held in trust (trusts created by the decedent prior to death to care for another).
People often wonder how long it takes to probate a will in Texas. State and local Court rules govern the amount of time it takes. The executor or the estate administrator will be required to follow these rules. Generally, you will be required to file an application for probate, then give notice to the public, creditors, and beneficiaries. It is important to realize that if an estate is extremely complex or if there is a dispute from either a creditor or a beneficiary, the process can take much longer to finalize.
Texas Estates Code states that an executor of the will has four years from the date of the decedent’s death to file for probate. If the application is not filed within four years, then the estate could be subject to the laws of intestacy, meaning the estate could be handled as if no will existed. If you or a loved one need assistance or simply have questions about the probate process, please contact us to discuss the details of your situation. We understand the complications that can accompany these life events.