Estate Planning and Probate of Estates
In Texas if you do not have a Will, the state of Texas has prepared a plan for the distribution of your estate to your heirs. This plan may require a Dependent Administration. This will require the Probate Court to appoint an Administrator. The Administrator will be under complete supervision of the Court to perform all aspects of collection of the estate, sale of the assets, determination of the heirs, payment of debts and, after full accounting, distribution to the heirs. Also, a bond is required of the Administrator as the personal representative.
Under Texas Law it is simple to avoid the cost and expense of an extended proceeding before the court of a Dependent Administration. Proper execution of a Will can provide for an Independent Administration, which after the court recognizes and admits the Will to probate is independent of the court and no bond is required. An independent administration Will only require the Applicant (who is usually the Executor) to interact with the Probate Court as follows:
- A court appearance to admit the Will to probate,
- A general statement regarding inventory of the estate, which may be avoided in some instances, and
- Notices to the beneficiaries and any creditors. The Will is important also in that you, and not the state of Texas, determine who the beneficiaries of your estate are.
Another tool is a Family Settlement Agreement. Sometimes it is possible and useful to avoid disputes with a formal family settlement agreement in regard to estates. An attorney familiar with Texas Probate Law can help to avoid problems that may arise from improper documentation of the settlement.
Material presented on this website is intended for information purpose only. It is not intended as professional advice and should not be construed as such. The services of a competent professional should be sought if legal or other specific expert assistance is required.