How Do You Manage Probate Without A Will In Texas?

With proper estate planning and a will, the probate process can be fairly straightforward. There is usually one hearing before the inventory is prepared and the executor divides the assets. The whole process can sometimes be completed in less than 90 days, as long as there is no conflict among heirs.

But if someone dies intestate in Texas, without a will, estate administration can be complicated and costly. There are at least two steps you have to take when managing probate without a will.

1. Determine Who The Heirs Are

When the estate includes real property, you need to submit an affidavit of heirship to your county clerk.

The affidavit of heirship is completed by someone close to the decedent, and identifies the assets and heirs of the estate. Once completed, it is then signed by a notary, as well as two witnesses with knowledge of the family. These witnesses need to be disinterested parties, people who have no financial gain in the estate.

If there are disagreements among potential heirs of the estate, an affidavit of heirship may not be so simple, and could require the court to intervene, making the process longer and more expensive.

2. Determine The Executor Of The Estate

In addition to identifying the heirs, you need a disinterested party to administer the estate. This person needs to be agreed upon by all heirs. This executor is appointed as either an independent or dependent administrator of the estate.

An independent administrator has full control over how they execute the estate, with minimal supervision from the court. This is the simplest case and requires the least resources – but all heirs must be in agreement to appoint an independent administrator.

A dependent administrator is often the result of conflict among heirs and executes the estate under extensive supervision of the court. Because every decision must be approved by the court, this form of probate can be very costly and time-consuming.

You Need Reliable Legal Counsel

Whether the decedent has a will or not, you should not distribute their assets without proper legal counsel and guidance. An already stressful process can be made more complicated through intestate probate, and a seasoned probate lawyer can help you navigate this process while minimizing the costs.

If you are a potential heir to an estate that does not include a will, schedule a consultation with Dora L. Bonner Attorney at Law to discuss your options and the best path forward. I have helped countless Brazoria County residents with their estate and probate needs, and can provide the legal counsel you need to make this process easier.

Call 979-316-4049 today to schedule an appointment in my Clute office, or contact me online. Weekend and evening appointments are also available upon request.