What is the purpose of probate?
Generally speaking, the process of probate is designed to prevent situations of fraud after someone has died. Probate acts as a way of freezing the estate until a judge can determine the validity of a Will, and that all relevant people have been notified. The judge will also ensure that all of the property in the estate has been both identified and appraised so that the executor can pay off all creditors and taxes left on the estate. Once that has been taken care of, the court will issue an official order mandating that the remaining property is distributed before closing the estate.
Do all estates go through probate?
In Texas, not all estates are required to go through probate. If an estate falls below a certain threshold, it can be considered a "small estate" and thus, will not require court supervision to be settled. Furthermore, not all assets are subject to probate. There are certain kinds of assets that can be transferred automatically upon the death of the owner with no probate required. Estates can also avoid probate if the decedent created a Living Trust to hold the estate's largest assets -- as long as the assets left outside of the trust do not add up to more than Texas' small estate limit.
Probate without a Will.
Sometimes a loved one passes without leaving a Will, which is referred to as being "intestate." When that happens, there are several probate options available to the heirs. These options include an affidavit of heirship, a small estate affidavit, and a proceeding to determine heirship that may or may not include an administration. The attorneys at the Garza Law Firm will work with the heirs to determine which type of probate action makes the most sense to pursue, depending on the size of the estate and the type of property involved.
Don't Wait. Let Us Help You Today.
At the end of the day, there are a lot of details involved in probate matters that you can't afford to overlook. The attorneys at Garza Law Firm, LLLP have gathered extensive experience working through probate cases to help clients quickly and efficiently settle all estate matters so that they can begin to move forward with life after losing a loved one. If you or someone you know is facing probate, don't wait to handle these matters. Call the Garza Law Firm, LLLP today and let us make sure you and your family are taken care of.