There is no one right way to administer a deceased person’s estate. In Texas, multiple methods exist to handle an estate’s probate administration. Two of the most common methods are dependent and independent probate.
The default method: Dependent probate
When an estate’s administration, including everything in the process, is court-supervised, it is a dependent probate. During the process, the assigned executor must always go to court for approval for every action involving the estate. Additionally, the executor must regularly report every act or change related to the estate and its administration.
By default, Texas requires that estates be subject to this type of probate.
The unconfined method: Independent probate
As the name indicates, independent probate is the administration of an estate free from the court’s supervision. With this method, the executor has more authority in making decisions and handling the estate’s administration. Usually, the court will allow independent probate if it is stated in the decedent’s will or if the heirs and beneficiaries agree to pursue this method.
Generally, this method is more efficient and less expensive than dependent probate.
Are these the only options?
While it seems like probate is confined between the two methods mentioned above, other options exist to manage an estate’s administration. Another method is the muniment of title probate. This process is generally pursued when there is a will and the estate has no debts, which means there is no need to administer an estate. The estate’s representative or beneficiary just has to file an application in court to confirm the will’s validity.
Weigh your options and choose the best one for you
Probate is not a black-and-white process. Several methods are available to administer an estate. Whether you are an executor, an heir, or a beneficiary, you must explore all the probate options and review them together with the circumstances surrounding the estate. By doing so, you can find the most appropriate probate method for you.