Probate Law Texas

PROBATE LAWS AND PROCEDURES- TEXAS
  1. The probate of Wills and administration of estates of decedents Wills is governed by the Texas Probate Code.
  2. The Wills may be admitted to probate, and letters testamentary or of administration may be granted:
    1. In the county where the deceased resided, if he had a domicile or fixed place of residence in this State.
    2. If the deceased had no domicile or fixed place of residence in this State but died in this State, then either in the county where his principal property was at the time of his death, or in the county where he died.
    3. If he had no domicile or fixed place of residence in this State, and died outside the limits of this State, then in any county in this State where his nearest of kin reside.
    4. If he had no kindred in this State, then in the county where his principal estate was situated at the time of his death.
    5. In the county where the applicant resides, when administration is for the purpose only of receiving funds or money due to a deceased person or his estate from any governmental source or agency.

RIGHT TO INHERIT

  1. No right of inheritance shall accrue to any persons other than to children or lineal descendants of the intestate, unless they are in being and capable in law to take as heirs at the time of the death of the intestate.
  2. In situations where the inheritance passes to the collateral kindred of the intestate, if part of such collateral be of the whole blood, and the other part be of the half blood only, of the intestate, each of those of half blood shall inherit only half so much as each of those of the whole blood; but if all be of the half blood, they shall have whole portions.
  3. An alien heir is not disqualified from the right to inherit.
  4. No conviction shall work corruption of blood or forfeiture of estate. However, in the case of a beneficiary in a life insurance policy or contract who is convicted and sentenced as a principal or accomplice in wilfully bringing about the death of the insured.

INHERITANCE RIGHTS OF CHILDREN

  1. Maternal Inheritance:
    1. A child for the purpose of inheritance is the child of his biological or adopted mother, so that he and his issue shall inherit from his mother and from his maternal kindred, both descendants, ascendants, and collaterals in all degrees, and they may inherit from him and his issue.
  2. Paternal Inheritance:
    1. For the purpose of inheritance, a child is the child of his biological father or is adjudicated to be the child of the father by court decree and was adopted by his father.
    2. if the father executed an acknowledgment of paternity or a like statement properly executed in another jurisdiction, so that he and his issue shall inherit from his father and from his paternal kindred, both descendants, ascendants, and collaterals in all degrees, and they may inherit from him and his issue.
    3. A person who purchases for valuable consideration any interest in real or personal property of the heirs of a decedent, who in good faith relies on the declarations in an affidavit of heirship.
  3. Marriages Void and Voidable:
    1. The issue of marriages declared void or voided by annulment shall be treated in the same manner as issue of a valid marriage.

PROBATE PROCEDURE

  1. The petition for probate may be filed with the Statutory Probate Court in case of metropolitan area or Constitutional County Court for the county.
  2. All applications for the grant of letters testamentary or of administration upon an estate must be filed within four years after the death of the testator or intestate.
  3. Upon the completion of hearing of an application for the probate of a will, if the Court be satisfied that such will should be admitted to probate, an order to that effect shall be entered.
  4. A written Will if within the control of the applicant may be filed with the application for probate as a muniment of title, and shall remain in the custody of the county clerk unless removed from the custody of the clerk by order of a proper court.
  5. An application for probate of shall state:
    1. The name and domicile of each applicant.
    2. The name, age if known, and domicile of the decedent, and the fact, time, and place of death.
    3. Facts showing that the court has venue.
    4. That the decedent owned real or personal property, or both, describing the property generally, and stating its probable value.
    5. The date of the will, the name and residence of the executor named in the will, if any, and the names and residences of the subscribing witnesses, if any.
    6. Whether a child or children born or adopted after the making of such will survived the decedent, and the name of each such survivor, if any.
    7. That there are no unpaid debts owing by the estate of the testator, excluding debts secured by liens on real estate.
    8. Whether the decedent was ever divorced, and if so, when and from whom.
    9. Whether the state, a governmental agency of the state, or a charitable organization is named by the will as a devisee.
  6. After filing of the application for probate the notice of the court hearing must be published, in a local newspaper or mailed to everyone named in the will.
  7. At the court hearing if there are no objections, the court will admit the will to probate and appoint the executor or administrator.
  8. The executor or administrator shall file a form titled as "letters testamentary" or "letters of administration" immediately after appointment.
  9. The executor on appointment takes possession of all of the decedent's assets subject to the probate process.
  10. The executor then prepares the inventory and appraisal.
  11. The executor then gives notices to the known creditors and accepts or rejects claims of the creditor.
  12. The executor thereafter files returns, and pay the debt, if required may sell the property to meet the expenses and debts.
  13. Thereafter the executor files petition for the accounting and for final distribution of the property.
  14. The executor then mails 15 days prior notices to the interested persons to come on the hearing date so fixed upon filing the accounting and for final distribution of the property.
  15. On the date of hearing the judge finally signs the judgment of the final distribution.
  16. Upon judgment to distribute the asset the assets finally distributed and if there is any real estate involves then the judgment has to be recorded and the executor then file receipt on distribution or Income tax returns (if required) and then file the declaration for final discharge with the court.
  17. Where distribution for final discharge is filed the court discharges the case.

PROCEDURE PERTAINING TO FOREIGN WILLS

  1. The written will of a testator who was not domiciled in Texas
    1. at the time of his death which would affect any real or personal property in this State,
    2. may be admitted to probate upon proof that it stands probated or established in any of the United States, its territories, the District of Columbia, or any foreign nation.

APPLICATION AND CITATION

  1. If a foreign will has been admitted to probate or established in the jurisdiction in which the testator was domiciled at the time of his death, the application need state
    1. only that probate is requested on the basis of the authenticated copy of the foreign proceedings in which the will was probated or established._
    2. No citation or notice is required.
  2. If a foreign will has been admitted to probate or established in any jurisdiction other than the domicile of the testator at the time of his death, the application for its probate shall contain all of the information required in an application for the probate of a domestic will.
  3. It shall also contain the name and address of each devisee and each person who will be entitled to a portion of the estate as an heir in the absence of a will._
  4. Citations shall be issued and served on each such devisee and heir by registered or certified mail.
  5. An attested copy of the will and of the judgment, order, or decree by which it was admitted to probate,
    1. with the original signature of the clerk of the court or
    2. of such other official as has custody of such will or is in charge of probate records,
    3. with the seal of the court affixed, if there is a seal,
    4. together with a certificate containing the original signature of the judge or presiding magistrate of such court that the said attestation is in due form, shall be filed with the application._

Contest of Foreign Wills

  1. A foreign will that has been admitted to probate in the jurisdiction in which the testator was domiciled at the time of his death may be contested by any interested person on the following grounds:
    1. That the foreign proceedings were not authenticated in the manner required for ancillary probate or recording in the deed records.
    2. That the will has been finally rejected for probate in this State in another proceeding.
    3. That the probate of the will has been set aside in the jurisdiction in which the testator died domiciled.

Effect of Foreign Will on Local Property

  1. If a foreign will has been admitted to probate or established in the jurisdiction in which the testator was domiciled at the time of his death, such will when probated
    1. shall be effectual to dispose of both real and personal property in this State
    2. irrespective of whether such will was executed with the formalities required by the Code.

Probate Law Fees Texas

The probate fee in original action in this state is $40, which may vary from county to county.