Has a family member of yours recently died in Texas? If so, his or her estate probably has to go through probate. This is a process by which the court authorizes the administration of your loved one’s estate after formally recognizing his or her death. Your family member’s estate consists of all the assets he or she owned at the time of death.
Although there are ways of avoiding probate, as well as alternatives to it, your loved one’s estate typically goes through the process if he or she made out a will. If your family member did not have a will then the probate process typically takes place according to the rules of intestate succession. There are three different methods for probating an estate under Texas law.
1. Muniment of title
Muniment of title is a type of probate unique in Texas. Unlike the other methods, it does not require the court to appoint an administrator or executor of an estate. Muniment of title provides a more streamlined process and is the only mechanism of probating a will if more than four years have passed after the decedent’s death.
2. Dependent administration
With the dependent administration method, the executor or administrator of the decedent’s estate must act under the court’s supervision. Before taking certain actions involving the administration of the estate, such as paying debts, cashing in stocks or selling a house, the administrator must request and receive the approval of the court. This is the default method of probate in Texas.
3. Independent administration
An independent administrator must meet a couple of requirements to gain the court’s approval. However, upon meeting these requirements, the administrator no longer needs the court’s permission to perform tasks such as selling property or paying debts. Unlike a dependent administrator, an independent administrator is free to fulfill his or her duties without the court’s scrutiny.