Texas Probate Procedures: How Soon Must You File?
Although you cant do an administration of probate after the four year statute of limitations has expired, you can still do a proceeding to determine heirship. R. David Weaver, a Texas attorney with over 25 years experience whose practice offers a wide range of legal services including estate planning and probate, explained how this works:
With an Affidavit of Heirship, lets say a man dies, has a surviving wife and that he doesnt own anything but his house. If he has a Will where he left everything to his wife, theyll say, Theres no point in admitting the Will because its only his house and the momma still lives in it. So they just let it go. Then, eight or ten years later, momma dies and mommas got a Will which says, We leave it to the kids. The kids say, Okay, we need to go ahead and put this Will in, which is fine except for you still havent handled poppas share of the estate his share of the house. So, you go through the process of doing the Determination of Heirship, probate the Will and together, those proceedings result in the transfer of the property to the children, if thats who the beneficiaries are.
Texas Probate Procedures - Streamlined for surviving spouses
Texas has a streamlined proceeding which allows the surviving spouse to get an application to admit the Will as a Muniment of Title, and having admitted the Will as a Muniment of Title, the order essentially operates to transfer that title. Weaver explained how it works:
Generally, what the application says is that, My husband has died. He left this Will. Its attached. He leaves everything in the Will to me. There are no debts and Im asking that the court enter an order saying that this Will is now the Muniment of Title. The court enters that order and thats what happens. The actual Will and the order are recorded with the county and are placed into the widows name. Its an inexpensive process, very easy to do and can be done quickly in about six weeks.
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