Probate generally occurs when a person has passed away and their estate needs to be settled. There is an entire process that takes place before the decedent’s heirs can receive their bequests. This is how probate works in Texas.
Filing the application
An application for probate is filed with the probate court in the county where the decedent last lived. There is a waiting period before the court schedules a hearing; the county clerk posts a notice at the court about the probate application so that anyone contesting the will can step forward. If no one contests, the probate can proceed.
Validating the will
The will must be validated in order to be legal, and if it’s found to be so, the person named as executor will handle all estate matters. If the person died without a last will and testament or failed to appoint one, the judge will name someone to serve as the administrator. If there are disputes over the will’s legitimacy, they must be resolved.
The executor or administrator performs an asset inventory and reports back to the county clerk within 90 days. This involves cataloging everything to ensure that they match the valuations as of the time of the person’s death. All beneficiaries are issued copies of the inventory list.
Identifying beneficiaries and notifying creditors
If there is a will, beneficiaries are notified of the estate, but if the decedent did not have a valid will, the court will establish who will be entitled to distributions in accordance with state law. Once the beneficiaries are served copies of the probate application, they must sign it. Notices may also be posted in newspapers and at the court. Creditors are notified if the decedent left debts behind.