Probating A Will

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Understanding The Probate Process In Texas

When a loved one passes away, confusion often arises about how to distribute assets and close an estate. The probate process ensures the orderly transfer of your loved one’s property and helps prevent fraud. Each step must be completed before any assets are released.

Dan Burke Attorney At Law can guide you through this process smoothly, helping you understand each step the executor must take.

What Is A Will?

A will is an official document that instructs your loved ones on how to handle your property after your death, significantly easing their burden. From monetary to physical, the future of all your assets will be organized and accounted for once you pass. This may also include your end-of-life directions. Creating and executing a will is a quick process that saves your loved ones a tremendous amount of time and money after you pass. Everyone should have a will. If you need to discuss or update your will, contact a trusted probate attorney like Dan Burke.

Probating A Will In Texas

When probating a loved one’s will, it’s helpful to consult a probate attorney to understand all necessary steps. You will need the original will or a copy of it and the contact information for the executor — who is responsible for carrying out the deceased’s wishes and settling any outstanding issues. Additionally, having the names, addresses and contact information of all beneficiaries named in the will is crucial for a smooth probate process.

Probating Without A Will

If your loved one did not have a will but owned property — whether real or personal — you may need an heirship proceeding. In an heirship proceeding, the court determines who the heirs are and what property each heir should receive. These proceedings can become complicated depending on the circumstances.

Will & Inventory

Probating a will is no small task. Important documents of the deceased must be located before the process begins. Estate planning documents — including the will — provide essential information about the financial situation of the deceased, such as what they own and what they owe.

After the will is probated, the court will require an inventory of the estate or an affidavit in lieu of the inventory. The executor will need recent statements for:

• Bank accounts
• Investment accounts
• Life insurance
• Health insurance
• Health savings accounts
• Credit cards
• Vehicles and properties owned by the deceased

Additionally, the executor will need information about the deceased’s debts, including medical bills, insurance bills, car payments, house payments, loan payments and more.

The Probate Process Steps

Every probate process varies by state, but most include these steps:

Step 1: File To Begin Probate

The executor must file a request in the county where the deceased passed away, requesting power to start the probate process. A valid will and the death certificate are needed at this point. After approval, the court will open the probate case, allowing the executor to act on behalf of the deceased.

Step 2: Send Notice

All heirs, beneficiaries and creditors must be informed that the estate is in probate.

Step 3: Inventory Assets

All probate-subject assets must be collected and presented to the court, including bank accounts, retirement accounts, real estate, personal belongings and stocks and bonds.

Step 4: Settle Bills And Debts

Remaining money in the deceased’s name must first go towards paying outstanding debts or bills. A final income tax return should also be filed.

Step 5: Distribute Assets

Once debts and bills are settled, the remaining assets can be distributed to the heirs and beneficiaries as directed by the will.

Step 6: Close The Estate

After distributing all assets, submit receipts and records of these actions to the court and request that the estate be closed, thereby relinquishing your role as executor.

Let Dan Burke Help

The probate process can be overwhelming. Guidance from an experienced probate attorney like Dan Burke can simplify this daunting task. The ins and outs of probate law are complicated and you want to ensure your loved one’s estate is properly accounted for. If your loved one has passed without a will, contact Dan Burke to schedule your consultation today.