There is so much about probating a will that can be difficult to figure out, and without the right information at your fingertips, it can be easy to let parts of the process fall through the cracks. If you have a loved one that has recently passed and you need to make sure his or her will goes through probate, you want to make sure you leave no stone uncovered. By working diligently, you can finish up probate as efficiently and thoroughly as possible, enabling yourself to move forward with your life after the process is complete.
How Do I Begin Probating a Will?
If your loved one has passed, and that person did leave a will, the first thing you will have to do is file an application for probate with the court. Importantly, there are different probate courts in Texas, and you will want to make sure you file the application with the court in your area (i.e., your jurisdiction). As a general rule, loved ones have four years from a decedent’s death to file an application for probate.
What Will the Probate Court Require Before Approving a Will?
The probate court will first require you to wait for a period of time so that it can provide notice to anyone who might think he or she has a right to the decedent’s assets. After this period of time (typically two weeks), the court will hold a hearing. At this hearing, the judge will decide whether the decedent’s will is valid.
Only after the judge declares the will valid can beneficiaries begin to receive compensation from the decedent’s assets. The executor, or the person in charge of managing the will, is responsible for handling all of the logistics around this process.
After a will goes through probate, the general public has two years to file a motion with the court, contesting the way that will was interpreted. When disputes arise, litigation can ensue, and having an attorney in mind can be helpful for these potential conflicts.
The probate process can take anywhere from a few months to a couple of years. If you have questions about how to handle the filings, the hearings, and the paperwork, the best thing you can do is speak with an estate planning attorney that you trust has your (and your family’s) best interests at heart.
Are You Looking for Your Estate Planning Attorney in Texas?
If you want to make sure your loved ones are well protected long after you are gone, call McCulloch & Miller to discuss your estate planning needs and priorities. Our Houston firm provides peace of mind throughout a process that can be difficult to navigate, and we put your goals at the forefront of our strategy as we work with you to look out for the people you love. For a consultation with a member of our team, call us today at 713-936-9073. You can also fill out our online form to have an attorney reach back out to you as soon as possible.