When a Texas resident passes away, the next step their heirs may face is going through the probate and estate administration process. When a person dies with a will in place, assets will be transferred in accordance with its terms. On the other hand, if they do not have a will, their assets will be distributed according to the Texas rules for intestacy. In all cases, the probate courts manage the process and settle any disputes that may emerge about the will, its validity or the estate.
Executor brings the will forward
The executor named in the will is responsible for working with the probate courts throughout the estate administration process. The executor must file the will and begin the process to show that the will is valid. After the will is accepted, the probate court issues a testamentary letter to the executor in order to complete the distribution of property. On the other hand, if the person died without a will, the court will appoint a party as the administrator of the estate.
Finalizing financial obligations and distributing assets
Administering an estate not only involves the distribution of property to beneficiaries and heirs; it also includes the process of searching for and accumulating the assets of the deceased person. Some people may have far-flung bank accounts, cryptocurrency wallets or other valuable assets that have to be found before they can be distributed. The administrator must also pay off any debts of the estate before passing on the remaining funds to those due to inherit the property.
The process can take differing amounts of time, depending on the complexity of the estate, the validity of the will or any conflicts among beneficiaries. Tax and debt problems can provide further delays, while estates with many assets that can be transferred outside probate (like life insurance, trusts, beneficiary designations and payable on death accounts) may have a much faster process.