There are many ways to distribute your assets after you pass. Some people use a trust, others use joint ownership or rely on direct payments from insurance or retirement policies. However, the most commonly used method of passing on property to beneficiaries is drafting a will. But before your beneficiaries can receive their inheritance, your will must first go through the probate process. But do you know what processes courts use to probate a will in Texas?
At Sheehan Law, PLLC, we know what it takes to get your family through the probate process. We understand the many steps it takes and how difficult it can be. Going through probate after losing a loved one is very challenging. We want to help reduce this stress by keeping you informed. So, our Austin probate attorney has gathered information to help.
There are four methods to process an estate in Texas. Two of these methods involve probating a will.
Independent Administration – If the decedent had a valid will, this is usually the process used to probate it. The court will either appoint an administrator for the will, or it will verify the executor named in the will. This overseer will have the freedom to carry out the wishes expressed in the will with very little probate court oversight.
Dependent Administration – If the decedent did not have a valid will, then this form of probate will process the estate. This will give the probate court more oversight over the administrator it appoints. This means Texas law will govern the distribution of the estate’s property and assets as well as who receives them.
Muniment of Title – This process can happen if an estate has no debts (except for secured debts) or Medicaid claims against it. The court will not appoint an executor. However, the person who filed the Muniment of Title has six months to carry out the will and file a sworn affidavit with the court.
Small Estate Affidavit – This process occurs when a decedent has no will and the value of his or her estate is under $75,000. The beneficiaries must file a sworn statement in order to collect the property without going through the probate process.
These are just the methods that the Texas probate courts use to process your will. There are still eight steps that your will must undergo before it can be fully carried out. Next month we will explore these steps in further detail. However, if you have questions about the process now, please contact our office to schedule a consultation.