For many people, the probate process may seem intimidating. If you are beginning these legal proceedings, you may worry about fulfilling the role of executor or obtaining the property that you deserve under the terms of a Will or Trust.
The Sugar Land Probate Courts follow a strict procedure that is described in the Texas Estates Code to ensure that a Will is valid, the party who serves as an executor is qualified, and the terms of a decedent’s Will or other testamentary document go into effect. Even if there is no Will, the probate process can help facilitate the proper distribution of assets. For the purpose of this article, we will assume that the person who died had a Will.
A well-informed attorney can provide essential clarification on the Sugar Land probate process. If you are involved in these proceedings, whether you are an executor or a distributee, speak with the legal team at Romano & Sumner to better understand your rights and duties under the law.
The probate process begins when a person dies. As soon as this happens, either the named executor, a creditor, or a distributee will file an application, along with the Will (or a copy if the original has been lost), with the state probate court, typically in the county where the decedent lived. This initiates the probate process.
One of the first things that the probate court will do is identify and certify the executor of the decedent’s estate. Usually, this party is nominated in the decedent’s Will. If the nominee does not accept the role or is otherwise disqualified, the court can appoint an executor. According to the Texas Estates Code § 301.052, a party applying to be an executor must provide personal identification so that the court can certify their eligibility to serve in the role.
The role of an executor is to ensure the correct and prompt distribution of assets as stated in a Will. Importantly, this person must also facilitate the payment of all debts to creditors.
To fulfill this role, an executor should consult a nearby attorney on completing the following steps. First, they should receive letters testamentary from the probate court. This empowers them to create a bank account for the estate that is separate from their personal accounts. Next, an executor can sell assets to obtain cash for paying creditors, if necessary. Only when this is done can an executor transfer property to the distributees. Throughout these processes, an executor must keep records of their transactions.
The probate process ends when an executor certifies that creditors have received their money and that the property of the estate has gone to the named distributees. To achieve this, an executor must state that they have completed their duties and provide the court with a verified account that confirms all relevant financial transactions. If a court accepts this evidence, probate comes to an end.
Probate describes the process of a court overseeing the payment of debts and distribution of assets in an estate. However, it is important to note that this process is not automatic after a death and only begins when an interested party files the Will with the probate court. This leads to the appointment of an executor who has the power and obligation to administer to the estate.
If you are beginning the Sugar Land probate process, it is recommended that you consult a dedicated attorney who can inform you throughout the proceedings. Whether you are an executor, distributee, or other interested party in an estate, call Romano & Sumner today to learn more.
Romano & Sumner, PLLC