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If you’re not sure what probate is, don’t worry — you’re not alone. In simple terms, probate is the legal procedure for managing and finalizing a Deceased person’s estate. If the Deceased left a valid Last Will and Testament (“Will”), then the procedure involves filing the Will with the Probate Court in the county where the Deceased lived (subject to some exceptions) and administering the Estate.
WHAT IS ESTATE ADMINISTRATION?
Estate administration is simply the collecting of the Deceased’s assets, paying the Deceased’s outstanding debts, and distributing the Deceased’s assets to the Deceased’s beneficiaries under the Will. The Executor named in the Will is responsible for initiating and managing this process. Fortunately, in Texas independent administration may be available to an Executor, reducing court supervision, attorney fees, and expenses of administration.
WHAT IF THERE ISN’T A WILL?
When a person dies without leaving a Will, the probate process becomes more complex. In these cases, a probate may still be necessary. An interested person may file an application with the probate to court to be appointed the administrator of the Estate. A judicial determination of heirship, identifying the Deceased’s heirs and their interest in the estate is usually required before the appointed administrator may collect the Deceased’s assets, pay the outstanding debts, and distribute the assets to the Deceased’s heirs. This procedure is very complex and requires great attention to detail.
Sound confusing? It can be. Probate proceedings are complex, intense matters involving specialized and specific documents that need to be filed, deadlines that have to be met, and probate procedures that need to be adhered to. Don’t deal with these headaches on your own. Call probate attorney Vance E. Hendrix today to get your probate matters resolved legally, properly, and efficiently.