Filing the probate petition. The executor must file the original will and a certified copy of the death certificate with the probate petition and other supporting documents in the Court of the county where the deceased person lived. There is a filing fee based on the size of the estate.
- Give Notice. You’ll need to mail a notice that the estate is in probate to all creditors, beneficiaries, and heirs as required by the court.
- Inventorying the property. The executor must collect the decedent’s belongings and have them appraised as necessary.
- Paying outstanding debts and taxes. This includes mortgage payments, home equity loans, income taxes, property taxes, and other applicable accounts. If the estate does not have enough cash on hand to repay the obligations, assets may need to be sold.
- Distributing the remaining property as the will or state intestacy law directs. The distributees (the legal term for the heirs to the estate) are listed in the initial probate petition. They are served with a notice that requires them to submit to the jurisdiction of the Court.
The Probate Process is a matter of public record. The precise rules governing probating estates are set forth by Texas law.
The executor is empowered with special legal documents that give them power to act. The person who holds this position can be compensated for their time and effort involved in distributing an estate, which will determine how much they are paid according the size of the estate.
When someone dies without a will, their estate can become an issue. A family member or friend may need to petition the court for an appointment as administrator of the estate unless there’s no probate needed.