Arlington, TX Probate Lawyer
Probate most commonly refers to the legal process in which the estate of a decedent is administered, and it can be helpful to have the assistance of an Arlington, TX probate lawyer. The simplest method of probating a will, proving the validity of a will, is independent administration. This process is less expensive and less cumbersome, as the independent administration accounts for more than eighty percent of probates done in Texas, for the family during a difficult time. There are many steps in the independent administration method of probating a will, and these are the most basic of them.
The first step is the Application to admit a Last Will and Testament and this must contain several facts which include the decedent being fully identified and the Court must be told why that Court is the appropriate venue to act on the Application. The Application should include specific information about the nominated representative, or the Executor. Some other important facts include the decedent’s date of birth and death, their residence at the time of their passing, their assets, their debts and outline of the family.
Most hearings to admit a will to probate and appointing a personal representative or Executor are brief, which makes the independent administration the best option. The facts that are alleged in the Application must to be proven in Court. This is accomplished through testimony of the nominated personal representative. Sometimes, there are additional witnesses that might be needed in order to prove some specific facts. The nominated personal representative will also need to offer testimony that proves his or her qualifications in serving their position, as there are some facts that might disqualify said person.
Letters Testamentary and the Steps
Following the hearing, the Will is admitted, and the personal representative will been appointed. At this point, Executor can order Letter Testamentary from the County Clerk. These letters work as an identification card that shows to any third-party that the Executor has the authority to deal on behalf of the Estate. The Letters Testamentary could be required by a bank before releasing funds to Estate, and to the Executor. The executor has the obligation to notify creditors of the estate, and beneficiaries of the Will. The executor is also required to prepare an Inventory of the Estate for the Court’s approval. The executor gathers the total of the Estate’s assets, reconciles all the decedent’s proper debts, and then finally makes distributions of the remaining property to the right beneficiaries.
The Closing of the Estate
Not all independent administrations are formally closed, but rather the beneficiaries of the Will could sign documents that state as evidence that they received their portion of the assets pertaining to the Estate and they release the Executor. There may be a few filings made in order to reflect the termination of the Estate in the County Clerk’s records.
Thank you to our friends and contributors from Brandy Austin Law Firm, PLLC for their insight into probate and estate planning.