Frequently Asked Questions About Probate In Texas

Is Probate Always Necessary?

No, not always.  But if there is a will, submitting the will to the local probate court (this is not filing for probate) is mandatory.  If there is real estate involved, or titles to vehicles which need to be changed, or perhaps, if there are bank accounts which need to be allocated pursuant to a will, then yes, probate is definitely the route which you should go.

Is Probate Expensive?

Relatively speaking, no.  In cases where there are few debts to pay and a well-drafted will, then probate will not likely cost more than the beneficiaries are willing to pay for the peace of mind granted by having a will admitted to probate.

How Fast Can We Do Our Probate Case?

If you mean “fast” as a means of putting up a property for sale, then the answer might be “as fast as a month or two.”  If you mean to ask long will it take for it all to be over?  Perhaps, you might need to understand that probate does not necessarily ever have to end.  Many lawyers keep the probate open in the event that a newly discovered piece of property belonging to the estate needs to be distributed to the rightful heir.  There is no harm in keeping a probate case open forever.

How Many Types of Probate Are There?

In Texas, there are primarily two types of probate of a will.  An administration (either independent or dependent) and a probate of a will as a muniment of title only.  The former anticipates the need to manage estate property, or perhaps, pay debts off.  The latter is primarily used for getting the property into the right hands without any need to manage property or to pay debts.

What Is An Independent Administration?

The horror stories about lengthy and expensive probates generally arise from non-independent probate administrations.  In Texas, the legislature has made a “fast-track” style of probate which allows the executor to handle all of the important aspects of settling an estate without the need for constant court hearings, and mounting lawyer fees.

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