Probate is the court procedure that determines whether a will is valid. If the will is “admitted to probate” by the court, it means that it was found to be valid. After a will is admitted to probate, the executor or administrator must “qualify” as representative of the estate by signing and filing an oath. At this point, the probate clerk will issue “Letters Testamentary” or “Letters of Administration,” which serve to evidence the executor or administrator’s authority to act on behalf of the estate.
The Texas Estates Code also requires the representative of an estate to notify creditors of the estate and beneficiaries of the estate that he or she qualified as representative and that the will has been admitted to probate. At the beginning of the probate process, we make sure to request the information we need to assist our clients with meeting these requirements by the deadline provided in the Texas Estates Code.
The Texas Estates Code also requires the representative of an estate to file a document listing all the estate assets and their approximate value as of the decedent’s date of death. In a recent blog post, I mentioned the importance of having a general idea of the estate assets and their value because it helps the probate attorney to prepare this document and file it by the deadline provided in the Texas Estates Code. However, it’s important to note that sometimes the information requested cannot be collected or obtained within the timeframe provided by law, and in those circumstances, we may request that the court extend the deadline.
We understand that the probate process might seem overwhelming, so we do our best to break it up into small steps and explain each step to our clients along the way. Again, we do our best to make the probate process as smooth as possible for our clients.