In thinking through the probate process, there are various nuances and procedures that are important to keep in mind. One term that you might hear while undergoing probate is “dependent administration” vs. “independent administration.” While there are similarities between dependent and independent administration, it is also important to know the difference between the two as you prepare to complete the probate process.
What is Independent Administration?
As we have discussed previously on our blog, the executor of an estate is the person in charge of setting a decedent’s estate. In Texas, independent administration allows an estate’s executor to have minimal court supervision during the probate process. This kind of administration is only allowed if the descendent named a specific executor in his or her will, or if all of the estate’s beneficiaries agree to a specific executor.
When one of these two conditions is met, the court is then minimally involved in the probate process. Typically, all that needs to happen for probate to move forward is that the judge must approve the list of assets in the decedent’s estate. The estate’s executor can then distribute the assets from there.
What is Dependent Administration?
Dependent administration, on the other hand, means that more court supervision will be involved. Typically, if there are disputes about how to divide an estate’s assets or if there are significant debts involved, the court will oversee more of the process.
While it can be frustrating, costly, and time-consuming for an executor to undergo dependent administration, it also provides an extra layer of protection. The executor him or herself is not making decisions about the estate alone but instead is getting court approval every step of the way. This allows the executor to take on less liability during probate.
Whether you are undergoing independent or dependent administration, there are still procedural hoops you have to jump through, and if you take a step that is out of line with the court’s requirements, it could end up costing more time and money than you would like. The best thing that you can do, therefore, is talk through the details with an estate planning attorney that can help make sure everything about your probate process is above board, procedurally correct, and as thorough as possible.
Are You in Need of an Estate Planning Attorney in Texas?
If you or a loved one is thinking about your long-term plans, don’t wait – call an estate planning attorney today. At McCulloch & Miller, we take the time to listen to your goals and priorities so that we can offer you the best, most individualized representation possible. Our team of Texas attorneys is standing by, ready to take your call. For a consultation with a member of our firm, you can reach us at 713-936-9073. You can also fill out our online form to have someone reach back out to you.