After a person passes away, their estate is accounted for and distributed
among their family, friends, and even creditors, all according to a special
court process known as probate. During the probate process, the executor
works in tandem with the court to ensure that the deceased’s last
wishes are granted in regards to their property and possessions. If no
will or executor is available, the probate court selects a person it considers
the most fitting to carry out matters.
While most states use the Uniform Probate Code (UPC) to carry out probate
matters, Texas does not. Instead they use a similar protocol that governs
what documents are required, what information must be included, and when
everything must be filed.
Below is a breakdown of the process in three categories: getting things
in order, distributing the estate and closing the estate.
Getting Things In Order
The first thing to do is appoint an executor to protect the deceased’s
will. The next step is to file an application for probate. The executor
will need to notify the deceased’s heirs, beneficiaries and creditors.
Finally, a witness will need to validate the will and important court-required
documents will need to be filed.
Distributing the Deceased’s Estate
The executor will need to get an estate ID number from the IRS and notify
the welfare or state department of the deceased’s death. They will
also take inventory of the assets and prepare for and file the deceased’s
income tax returns. Finally, they will need to notify creditors to pay
off any debts.
Closing the Estate
Once creditors are paid off, the executor will need to notify loved ones
to let them know about the last estate hearing. They will then step in
the probate process and get approval to distribute assets to family and
friends. After all assets are distributed, the executor must request to
be relieved of their probate responsibilities.
At the Law Office of Kathryn Marteeny, we understand how complex the probate
process can be. If you need assistance estate planning, contact our
Houston probate lawyers today.
Call (713) 936-2300 or contact us online
for an initial consultation.