New & Improved Probate Law Guide

April 25, 2024


For anyone dealing with a deceased relative's estate, the Texas probate process can seem daunting. We recently updated our Probate Law guide with information about many probate laws. It covers topics like formal administration, dealing with nonprobate property, and what happens when there is no will.

The guide also features materials in our library's collection that could be helpful to lawyers and nonlawyers alike. Read on for some highlights!

Before Probate

Many people don't know where to begin when handling a deceased loved one's affairs. This page looks at basic starting tasks, like locating the will or other estate planning documents, accessing bank accounts, and paying for the funeral. 

Probating a Will

What does it mean to "probate" a will, anyway? You may not know that after the person passes away, the will must be validated in court. We explain the required timelines, notices, and what constitutes a valid will.

When There is No Will

If there is no will or other planning documents, a person's estate will be divided according to Texas intestacy laws. These laws dictate how property passes when a person dies without will. The estate may still have to go through a judicial probate process.

The Executor's Role

An executor is the person responsible for handling the estate. This person is typically named in the will, but the court may appoint an administrator if no one has been named in the will. We explain an executor's roles and responsibilities, including how they can be appointed and removed.

Estate Administration

In this most formal probate method, an executor handles the deceased's debts and assets. We discuss when administration may be required and break down the differences between dependent and independent administration.

Informal Methods

For smaller or less complicated estates, simplified probate methods may be available. These alternatives are often faster and cheaper than formal administration. Our guide discusses small estate affidavits, muniments of title, orders of no administration, and more. 

 Find More Information

At the library, we're happy to help you find more information about the Texas probate process. See the library's e-books on Probate. Attorneys may also be interested in our CLEs on probate.

Questions? You can also reach out to us directly through our Ask a Librarian service!

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