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Potential intricacies involved in the probate process

On Behalf of | Mar 21, 2024 | Uncategorized |

When a loved one passes away, it can present you with a challenging time in many ways. This can especially be true if you are directly involved with any of the deceased’s estate-related affairs. Those in Texas and across the nation who are suddenly facing this type of situation probably have many questions and concerns, including how does the probate process work?

Probate is the legal process that allows for the formal settling of assets from a deceased individual’s estate, including financial accounts, real estate properties, valuable heirlooms and much more. If your loved one established a will before passing way, probate will typically begin with a determination of the will’s validity. Contrarily, if your loved one died intestate — meaning he or she had no will — there are certain differences involved in the process.

When a valid will exists

Your loved one is known as a testator if he or she created a will with instructions for how the court is to distribute the estate’s assets. Somewhere in the will there is typically the name of an executor who is responsible for several estate-related affairs. This includes initiating the process by submitting the will to the probate court. From there, the probate court has the power to legally authorize an executor to handle many matters related to the testator’s estate, including the following:

  • Estimating the estate’s overall value
  • Filing the final personal income tax return for the testator
  • Finding and overseeing all the assets owned by the deceased
  • Paying off any of the testator’s tax and debt obligations

Upon the completion of all duties, the executor can seek authorization from the probate court to distribute whatever remains of the estate’s assets to the designated beneficiaries.

When no will exists

If your loved one passed away without a formal will, the probate court typically designates an administrator to oversee many of the estate-related matters. The administrator’s duties include finding all the deceased’s legal heirs along with many of the executor’s responsibilities above. The probate court will then have authorization for distributing the remaining assets of the estate in a manner it deems most appropriate.

With all the complexities and potential sources of contention involved with probate, especially for executors and administrators, taking advantage of the professional resources readily available to you could be critical to your future best interests. An experienced Texas attorney can carefully guide you through every step of the process, help ensure there are no missteps and increase the odds of a smooth transition into the future.