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3 important steps to initiate the probate process

The loss of a loved one is difficult to process. Before attending to estate and related financial affairs, take the time you need to grieve. But this does not mean that you can afford to wait more than several months.

Did your loved one have a will or estate plan? This document designates an executor or personal representative who will attend to the estate assets. In the event, there was no estate plan in place (this is called intestacy), Texas Probate Code will determine an estate representative who will handle the distribution of assets.

Were you named the personal representative?

Where do you start? What can you expect from the probate administration process? How long will it take?

For those living in Texas, here are a few key steps that need to be completed to start the process:

  1. File for Probate. This is the court process used to determine to verify and validate a will. In Texas, the executor must file for probate within four years of your loved one's death.
  2. Probate Hearing. Generally, it takes a minimum of 10 business days for the court to present a notice to the public; this notice indicates that a will has been filed for probate. Once this has been done, a probate hearing can be scheduled.
  3. Estate Authorization. The court then authorizes the personal representative to act on behalf of the estate. These documents (referred to as Letters Testamentary) allow the personal representative to provide notice to creditors and beneficiaries of the estate.

In future posts, we will discuss the timeline for providing notice to creditors and beneficiaries. We will also discuss next steps like assessing and selling assets, paying claims and distributing gifts to beneficiaries.

The total time required will vary in relation to estate size and assets. Complicated assets can be difficult to value and sell. In other cases, claims filed against the estate may slow the process down.

Working with a skilled probate attorney is one way to navigate the process as quickly as possible. The Law Office of Ryan C. Moe can provide the tailored guidance you need. Schedule a free consultation right away to avoid mistakes and possible discord that can easily arise as family members grieve in different ways.

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