When Do You Need a Letter of Testamentary?

On our last blog, we began discussing letters of testamentary. These letters are documents produced by a probate court that allow an executor to prove that he or she has the authority to administer a decedent’s estate. To take it a step further, today we discuss when you might need a letter of testamentary, so that you can have a better understanding of the context in which these letters come into play.

The letter of testamentary is important for the executor of an estate. An estate’s executor is the person who is responsible for carrying out a deceased person’s last will and testament. Sometimes, when the executor starts to organize, disburse, or use the funds in a decedent’s estate, he or she needs the letter of testamentary to prove that he or she has the authority to withdraw money from certain accounts or use the money for certain purposes.

For example, an executor might need a letter of testamentary to access a decedent’s bank account, pay off the decedent’s debts, or distribute the decedent’s assets to his or her loved ones. There are also very practical circumstances in which a letter of testamentary could come into play – for example, the executor might need the letter when paying for funeral expenses or when making sure that the decedent’s loved ones receive proceeds from the individual’s life insurance.

How Do I Get a Letter of Testamentary?

In order to get a letter of testamentary, you need to file an application in the correct probate court for your jurisdiction. Typically, the court will hold a hearing, during which the judge will make sure the will is valid. The judge will also authorize the executor to carry out the decedent’s will. At that point, the court will issue a letter of testamentary for the estate’s executor.

If you have questions about how letters of testamentary might apply to your individual circumstances, call a trusted estate planning attorney who can help you work through the logistics of your case. Every situation is different, and every person has a different set of needs and procedural hurdles as they navigate the estate planning and probate processes.

Are You and Your Family Looking for a Houston Estate Planning Attorney?

At McCulloch & Miller, our firm specializes in working with you through the estate planning and probate processes, doing all we can to give your family peace of mind during a time that can be otherwise unsettling. Our services are backed by more than 35 years of experience practicing law in Texas, and our clients trust us to give them the results they need. We focus on offering practical advice and recommending only those services that make sense for your particular situation. For a consultation with a member of our team, call us today at 713-955-7281. You can also fill out our online form to have an attorney reach out to you about your case as soon as possible.

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