While Texas has a relatively uncomplicated probate process when compared to some other states, anytime you mix legal documents and court proceedings, the words simple or easy don’t necessarily apply when you have little legal knowledge with which to approach the process. Whether or not a will or other estate documents are involved, probate can involve a lengthy process, and that is extended and made more complicated if anyone contests or disagrees with decisions or a will.
Some things that might occur during probate include reviewing all estate documents, including wills and trusts, for validity. Documents may be deemed invalid if newer signed documents are produced by someone or if they are incomplete according to Texas law. Inventory of the estate may be conducted, and the court could get involved in or appoint someone to handle distributions from the estate. This is especially true if the estate owes money to creditors. The court or an appointee will also ensure all the property of the estate is property accounted for, which keeps heirs or others from hiding or keeping certain items out of the process.
By seeking legal assistance with both the estate planning and probate process, you can take advantage of knowledgeable advice throughout the entire process. In Texas, not all estates require probate, which is an important distinction to understand. No family wants to get involved in a court process that is unnecessary. When you do have to go through probate, understanding how to expedite the process can help with peace of mind and allow families to move on after grieving.
Some reasons probate may be necessary in Texas include the needs of a special trust, administration of a trust, determination of who may be an heir to an estate and administrating a conservatorship. All of these documents are complex legal vehicles, and accuracy and efficiency are key to a positive outcome.