LAW OFFICE OF S.M. BUSH

13831 Northwest Freeway, Suite 211 HOUSTON, TEXAS 77040
832.237.3600 (PHONE) • 832.237.3619 (FAX)

SHANTRICE@LAWOFFICEOFSMBUSH.COM (EMAIL)

"PROVIDING EQUAL ACCESS TO LEGAL SERVICES"

9601 JONES ROAD, SUITE 222, HOUSTON, TEXAS 77065 
832.237.3600 (PHONE) • 832.237.3619 (FAX) 
SHANTRICE@LAWOFFICEOFSMBUSH.COM (EMAIL)


What is Texas Probate?

The term probate means to "prove" the will through a proceeding usually in court. However, a will does not always exist (or is not available) and so laws are established in Texas to deal with the orderly distribution of assets to those 
who are entitled to inherit them, generally after being reviewed or monitored by a judge or other court-appointed person.
What Happens During Probate?

Probating a Will in Texas

The person who is nominated in the will as executor files a petition asking that he or she be appointed as executor. If there is no will, the Probate Code provides a list of persons who have priority to petition to become executor. The will also is filed with the petition, and notices are sent to the heirs and/or relatives to let them know when the hearing will be held.

If there are objections to the petition, or if the validity of the will is contested, the hearing will be used to resolve any problems that have arisen. In some cases this may mean that the validity of the will is not upheld, or that some other person than the original petitioner is chosen to administer the estate. In most cases, however, there is no objection and the petition is granted. The executor then makes an inventory of the estate's assets, locates creditors, pays bills, files tax returns, and manages the estate assets.

When all of the duties of the executor are completed, the estate is distributed to the heirs and the estate administration is completed by filing final tax returns.

How Long Does It Take to Settle an Estate in Texas?
The entire probate process will differ from state to state and the size and complexity of the "estate." In Texas, small estates
may even avoid a formal probate when the total assets are small in value. Again, in Texas, the minimum time an estate will likely be open is probably from two months to a year; possibly more if the estate requires real property such as a home to be sold and the buyer to close escrow.

Having a will, alone, does not mean probate is unnecessary. Although a will might make the process simpler, probate is still required for assets in the deceased's name alone.

To avoid probate, a living trust can be used, whereby probate can be avoided for all of the decedent's assets owned by the trust. Upon death, title to those assets passes according to the terms of the trust without need of probate. For additional questions please send an email or contact us at 832.237.3600.

What is Involved in Settling an Estate?
This involves a process which:
Determines what personal property and real estate (if any) is owned by the deceased person.  Pays any taxes or debts that the deceased person may owe (including costs of doing probate), and Distributes all real and personal property which remains to the rightful beneficiaries.  All property is said to be owned by the "estate" of the deceased person and must remain so  until the probate process is complete and the judge or other court-appointed person says it may
be distributed.