When winding up business affairs of a person who has passed away, many people may be concerned about how long it will take to go through the probate process to probate a Will. There is a series of events that should take place to effectively probate a Will. In this article we will discuss the probate process and general timeframe for probating a Will. Austin probate lawyer Farren Sheehan can help answer questions and walk clients through the probate process in the Austin, Pflugerville, Cedar Park, and Round Rock areas.
The Probate Process
The probate process is handled in court. In Travis County, The Travis County Probate Court is the statutory probate court with jurisdiction to probate the Wills of deceased persons and declare the heirs of deceased persons who die without a Will.
Officially, the probate process begins when a person files an Application for Probate of Will and for Issuance of Letters Testamentary with the probate court clerk. Often the person filing these papers is the person named as the Executor or Executrix in the Will, or a Texas attorney on his or her behalf. The original Will should be included with the Application.
Upon filing the Application, the court clerk will notify interested parties of the probate of the Will’s estate. After notice has been posted for the requisite time, a hearing is scheduled with the court asking the court to admit the Will to probate and issue Letters Testamentary. Following the hearing, the judge signs an order and the Executor or Executrix takes an oath to administer his or her duties lawfully. After taking the oath, the Executor or Executrix receives the Letters Testamentary giving him or her authority to administer the estate.
Requirements of the Executor or Executrix During Probate
The Executor or Executrix (assisted by a probate attorney) must provide notice to creditors in the newspaper within one month from receiving the Letters Testamentary. The Executor or Executrix must also provide notice to known creditors of issuance of the Letters Testamentary.
The Executor or Executrix must send certified letters to each beneficiary named in the Will with a copy of the Will and order from the court admitting the Will to probate within 60 days from the date of the order. Within 90 days, the Executor or Executrix must prepare and file a sworn affidavit with the court stating that the notice to beneficiaries was completed.
The Executor or Executrix must also file an Inventory, Appraisement, and List of Claims with the court within 90 days of the date of the court order admitting the Will to probate.
In an independent administration, the Executor or Executrix may complete all other duties without court supervision. He or she should pay claims and taxes due, and disburse assets to beneficiaries according to the terms of the Will.
Timeframe to Complete the Probate Process
For a simple estate, with an independent administration, often the entire probate process can be completed within six months. However, if the original Will cannot be located, the procedures are much more complicated and will take more time. In addition, if the probate is a dependent administration, the timeframe can be longer, up to a year or more, due to the increased involvement and supervision by the court.
How a Probate Attorney Can Help
An Executor or Executrix should hire an experienced probate attorney to represent him or her throughout the probate process in order to discharge his or her fiduciary duties properly. Probate lawyers draft necessary legal pleadings and filings and advise their clients about the ongoing responsibilities of a fiduciary. Probate lawyer Farren Sheehan is a licensed attorney familiar with the court procedures in the Travis County Probate Court and can help streamline any probate matters in Travis County or Williamson County. Call the office of Sheehan Law, PLLC with any questions you have regarding probate in the Austin, Pflugerville, Round Rock, or Cedar Park areas and we will be happy to set up a consultation to discuss.
- Tex. Estates Code Ann.