Probate & Estate Administration
What is Probate & Estate Administration?
When a loved one passes away, his or her estate often goes through a court-managed process called probate or estate administration, in which the assets of the deceased are managed and distributed. If your loved one owned his or her assets through a well-drafted and properly-funded living trust, it is likely that no court-managed administration is necessary. In that event, the trustee of the trust will still need to administer the distribution of the trust assets, but the trustee will be able to manage the trust outside the jurisdiction of the probate court. The length of time needed to complete the probate of an estate depends on the size and complexity of the estate and the local rules and schedule of the probate court.
Whether you have a handwritten will (also known as a holographic will) or typewritten will, its validity must be proved in court. This procedure is known as probate, and it generally must take place within four years after death. To probate a will, it must be established in court that the will meets the requirements of execution and that the will was not canceled or revoked. Additionally, unless the will is “self-proved,” proof of a handwritten will requires the testimony of two witnesses to the testator’s handwriting and proof of a typewritten will requires the testimony of one of the attesting witnesses.
A self-proved will is one that has attached a specific form of affidavit containing certain required statements which is executed before a notary public at the time the will is signed or anytime thereafter but before the testator dies. A standard notary acknowledgment alone is insufficient to make the will “self-proved.” A self-proved will is admitted to probate on the basis of the self-proving affidavit and there is no need to call witnesses.
A will that is not proved in court is denied probate. In this event, the decedent’s property passes to his or her heirs as if he or she died without a will. This further emphasizes how important it is to execute a will which meets all legal requirements, so that property will pass as the testator wishes. After proving the validity of a will, or the lack of a will, the next step in the process is the administration of the estate.
Estate administration involves the following steps:
- collection of the decedent’s assets
- payment of debts and claims against the estate
- payment of estate taxes, if any
- determination of heirs if the decedent died without a will
- distribution of the remainder of the estate to those entitled to it
Read more on our FAQS on Probate and Estate Administration.
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Let us help your family. Please feel free to contact us for a free consultation.
Willi Law Firm, P.C.
9600 Escarpment Blvd.
Ste. 745, PMB 34
Austin, TX 78749-1983
Main: (512) 522-0906
Facsimile: (512) 288-3202
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The attorneys at Willi Law Firm are your Austin, Texas resource for estate planning, wills, living trusts, firearms trusts, powers of attorney, living wills, probate and estate administration, trust administration, special needs trusts, disability planning, Medicaid applications and qualification, long-term care planning, elder law, Medicaid crisis planning, charitable planning, estate tax planning, business and corporate planning, business succession and sales, and asset protection.
Willi Law Firm proudly serves Central Texas individuals and families in the following counties: Bastrop, Blanco, Burnet, Caldwell, Hays, Lampasas, Lee, Travis, and Williamson, and in the following communities: Austin, Bastrop, Brushy Creek, Buda, Burnet, Cedar Park, Driftwood, Dripping Springs, Elgin, Georgetown, Hutto, Jollyville, Kyle, Lakeway, Lago Vista, Lampasas, Leander, Lockhart, Luling, Manchaca, Manor, Marble Falls, Oak Hill, Pfugerville, Rollingwood, Round Rock, San Marcos, Shady Hollow, Spicewood, Taylor, Wells Branch, Westlake, Windemere, and Wimberley.