If a person, upon death, has a valid will, the estate will still likely have to go through probate. The reasons for this include making sure the executor of the will administers the estate faithfully and according to the wishes of the deceased.
Estates go through probate also to make sure the deceased pays all debts and liabilities.
The process for estates valued at less than $75,000
In some cases, according to information from Smart Asset, heirs can avoid probate procedures. This primarily involves estates with a total value of below $75,000. In this situation, heirs file a small estate affidavit with the court of jurisdiction. Heirs must wait 30 days to file this action.
If the court approves the filing, the heirs then have access to the assets of the deceased. They are then free to divide up the assets according to the wishes of the deceased.
The process of intestate succession
In some cases, such as a person dying without a will or a lapse of time of four years after a person’s death, an estate goes into intestate succession. When this happens, the State of Texas decides the division of assets based on state law. This process becomes complicated by the division of assets into community property and separate property.
In cases of intestate succession, the different types of property go to a mix of the deceased’s spouse, children and/or relatives. Since every person’s family situation is different, with many different possible combinations, the rules for asset division become fairly complex. Read more about the probate process in Texas.