When a Texas estate must go through probate, the executor must initiate the process with the county court where the deceased person lived. Understanding the general steps involved in probate can help the administration of an estate go more smoothly.
Review the process of probate in Texas courts.
The hearing process
The executor will file the probate application, which begins a two-week waiting period before the hearing. This waiting period includes public notice of the estate so individuals can contest its administration. When the hearing occurs, the probate court will verify whether the deceased individual had a valid will and the identity of the executor. In the absence of an executor, a family member can start this process and the court will appoint an executor. The judge will give permission for this person to administer the estate.
Asset and debt distribution
The executor will gather, inventory and value the deceased person’s assets and debts. He or she has 90 days after the hearing date to complete this process and submit a complete and detailed list to the court.
Creditors receive notice of the estate from the executor, usually through a newspaper ad, and have the opportunity to file claims for the executor to review and settle. The executor must also identify and locate beneficiaries of the estate so they can take possession of inherited assets.
Challenges to the validity of the will and other disputes involving creditors and beneficiaries can prolong the probate process. The deceased person’s heirs may also challenge the executor’s actions in court if they disagree with the administration of the estate.