A probate is a legal process by which the decedent?s assets and liabilities are administered to legal heirs by a probation court. Further, as per rules of real estate probate in Texas, the real estate of a deceased person is distributed based on his or her will. In the lack of a will, the real estate will be divided based on hereditary succession laws.
Who can apply for real estate probate and when?
Briefly, the real estate probate is the process of administering real estate to legal beneficiaries, after the death of its owner. Here, legal beneficiaries usually include the legal heir mentioned in the will (if any), hereditary successions, and creditors. Any such beneficiary can apply for the probate process up to four years after the death of the decedent.
However, probate is not always required. This could be if the estate amount is small, the spouse is still alive, or in cases of joint ownership.
How much time does a probate process take?
The entire process could take from six months to several years depending on the complexity of the case. A complex case can take a lot of time and money. Also, distribution is done only at the end of the probate. Hence, it is suggested to take legal guidance and request independent probate in simple cases, wherein the court has less involvement.
The process of probate of real estate in Texas-
As explained, the probate process can become tedious and lead to conflicts if not done right. Hence, it is important to understand the process and get expert guidance. Here, you will find the probate process explained in simple terms-
Filing for probate
The probate application is filed in a probate court in the correct county in Texas. It must be the county where the decedent resided.
The county clerk posts the probate application at the courthouse. Following this, there is a waiting period of around two weeks. This period allows anyone to contest the application before the hearing in court.
Validation of the will
The hearing will be held if there are no contests. The judge will first ensure that the decedent is no longer alive. If there is a will, the judge will also verify its authenticity.
Appointing the executor or administrator
Next, the judge would assign an executor mentioned in the will to take care of proceedings. And if there is no will, an administrator is appointed by the court. The executor (mentioned in the will) may be liable to get compensation during the process.
Cataloging of assets
As per the rules of?real estate probate in Texas?executor or administrator must create an inventory of the assets of the decedent within 90 days of appointment. The list of claims and appraisers is also submitted.
Identification of estate beneficiaries
The executor or court identifies the estate beneficiaries. Other parties may also file for being a beneficiary through a legal attorney. Finally, all identified heirs must sign the application and give written and oral testimonies. They must also provide proof of all details they provide to the court.
Notifying creditors and resolving debts
The deceased usually leave behind some form of debt. The debts may include mortgages, medical expenses, or other credit purchases. These are then resolved by the heirs and often settled out of the decedent?s real estate.
Moreover, executors must notify all such creditors about the death of the decedent. The creditors can file for benefits along with the other heirs.
The final settlements are not made if the application is contested or any involved party files a grievance. The rules have the provisions for filing grievances up to two years from the original probate. If any fraud, forgery, threat, or misrepresentation is proven, the will or proceedings will be invalid.
Assets such as real estate are distributed to beneficiaries after all steps are complete. There is no distribution until the completion of the probate or if there are any remaining disputes.
In conclusion, the process of real estate probate in Texas is complex and requires legal knowledge to avoid disputes while protecting your rights. So, remember to get legal guidance and complete information before applying for probate.