Dealing with wills, trusts, and other estate issues is a challenging experience. The probate process can be very overwhelming, time-consuming, and expensive. With this in mind, you need proven Houston area probate attorneys to assist you through this difficult process. The Monks Law Firm will assist you in navigating the extensive probate process during this difficult time.
The Monks Law Firm specializes in probate administration as well as probate litigation.
Probate is the legal process that, for the most part, deals with the resolution of the decedent’s estate. In general, the probate process includes the following:
- Establishing in court that the will of the decedent is valid
- The identification and inventory of the decedent’s property
- Appraising the decedent’s property
- Resolving any outstanding debts and/or taxes
- Distributing property and assets to beneficiaries (either by direction of a valid will or as dictated by law)
Texas’ probate process is simple in relation to other states. Regardless, state law offers numerous ways assets can be passed on to beneficiaries.
In Texas, the decedent’s will names the person who will serve as executor of the estate. The will is admitted to probate and the executor will be qualified by the court to act as the independent administrator. The independent administrator will then take an inventory and appraisal of the decedent’s property, gather a list of claims against the estate, and submit them to the court. From there, the administrator proceeds with handling the affairs of the estate without any involvement from the court. If there’s no will, the executor can petition the court to act as the independent administrator so as long as all beneficiaries agree.
The executor can request court supervision of the administration of the estate. This is what is considered to be dependent administration. It is not common, but executors may go this route if hearings are necessary among a variety of issues, such as creditors.
Other Forms of Probate
- Small Estate Affidavit A simple affidavit may be filed if there is no will and the estate is worth less than $75,000.
- Order of No Necessity of Administration This occurs when the court finds that there’s no need for an administrator, even if someone files a will with probate court.
Muniment of Title
“Muniment of title” is a simple process that makes it easy to transfer assets when there is a will. This process is available when:
- There is a valid will
- The estate has no outstanding debts
- No claim has been against the estate from Medicaid for the purpose of recovering benefits
When someone files the will in probate court, accompanying it will be a request to probate the will as a muniment of title. The court will decide if an administrator is necessary. If not, the probate court will admit the decedent’s will as a muniment of title and the court will consider it evidence of title to the estate assets. In other words, the will transfer title of the assets to the beneficiaries.
No executor or administrator is appointed by the court, however, the person who requested that the will be probated as a muniment of title will have to file an affidavit within six months stating to what degree the terms of the will has been carried out.
Sometimes, probate does not go smoothly
There are times when this process becomes extremely difficult. In fact, whether it is contesting the validity of a will, rectifying impropriety, discovering new property, beneficiaries, and creditors—litigation may be necessary.
There are time limits, rules, and procedures on claims. Houston area probate attorneys Mike and Pat Monks will provide you important counseling, assistance, and representation if litigation is necessary.
Probate has a lot of steps—and a lot of chances for you to make a costly misstep
This is a difficult time for you and your loved ones. It is important to be mindful of the probate process because, while it is simpler in Texas than in other states, it is still an extensive process. There are a lot of forms and procedures involved. There are also other things to consider that we did not mention on this page.
However, the Monks Law Firm are Houston area probate attorneys who are experts in Texas probate law. We provide assistance to clients like yourself in the Greater Houston area, including all counties surrounding Harris County. We’re here to help you navigate through the probate process. Contact us for a consultation today.