All You Need to Know About the Probate Process as an Executor



Probate is the legal process through which an individual’s estate is managed and administered after their death. If the person leaves behind a Last Will & Testament, a probate will be needed to verify that the will is valid and to appoint an executor If you die without a Will then the process becomes more cumbersome with regards to both time and money.

What Is the Probate’s Job?

If you die without a will, the probate court will refer to the intestate laws to distribute your property and other belongings. If you die without a Will then the process becomes more cumbersome with regards to both time and money.

If you die with a Will, then your Will shall be probated. The executor is a personal representative who is responsible for carrying out the instructions in your will. If all the relevant parties agree with the will and it goes uncontested, the probate court will issue Letters of Testamentary. If someone contests the Will, then the court will get further involved and this will increase the expenses even further.



What Are the Executor’s Responsibilities?

Here is a step by step guide on how your executor goes about the probate process:

Step 1

Your executor can’t pick up your will and start distributing the inheritances and heirlooms immediately. They need to ‘prove’ the will first. The first step is to file a petition with the probate court and open the process. No distributions can be made yet.

Step 2

After the will has been approved, the executor will send out notices to the creditors and potential beneficiaries. These include the people named in your will and the ‘next of kin’ (your close relatives). The executor will post a notice to creditors, typically in a local newspaper. The executor will also go through your financial documents to attempt to find out about your debts and creditors..

Step 3

The next step is to evaluate the total value of all the assets as of the date of death. For this, they might need to make multiple visits to the bank, brokers, stock market experts, and other professional appraisers. The executor then makes multiple copies of the inventory valuation and sends them to the judge and beneficiaries.

Step 4

The last step is to distribute the assets and close the estate. If one of the beneficiaries is a minor, their inheritance is typically held for them in an UTMA account until they’re 18 or 21. The executor should use estate assets to pay your taxes and any outstanding debt. They’ll probably hire a CPA to do any tax filings. They’ll also close any retirement accounts and brokerage accounts that you own.

In many counties in Texas, the process usually takes probably 2 to 6 months, but that varies with the county, time of year, and budgets of our judicial system.

Mike Massey Law strives to make the probate process easier for individuals and their executors alike. If you’re based in Austin, Houston, and San Antonio, our estate planning attorneys can help you out. Book your free consultation today.

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Mike Massey JD, MBA, MPA just might be the 195th most interesting person in Texas. He has 4 college degrees and he's working on a 5th:  BBS Accounting; MPA Master's in Professional Accounting; JD Law Degree; MBA Master's in Business Administration; BBS in Biblical Studies (in progress).

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© 2020 Mike Massey Law.  Managing Attorney Mike Massey, 8911 Capital of Texas Hwy, Ste 3210, Austin, TX, 78759.  Email: mike@MyTxWills.com.  Phone: 888-407-2407.  Mike Massey, Texas Bar # 24032584. The information you obtain at this site is not, nor is it intended to be, legal advice. You should consult an attorney for advice regarding your individual situation. We invite you to contact us and welcome your calls, letters and electronic mail. Contacting us does not create an attorney-client relationship. Please do not send any confidential information to us until such time as an attorney-client relationship has been established. Privacy Statement.  Prices can vary based on your unique situation and potential add-on services.  Prices for in-office (in person) meetings typically cost more than virtual meetings that are done over the phone instead of in person.  Prices for virtual estate planning do not include an execution ceremony or notary, as those services are not available with our discounted virtual estate planning packages. If your a personal injury case client on a contingency fee, then if we do not win, you will not be responsible for attorney's fees, court costs, or litigation expenses, but if we do win money for you via a settlement or court verdict, then attorney's fees, court costs, litigation expenses and unpaid medical bills will be taken from your share of the recovery. Mike Massey Law is not responsible for your unpaid medical bills.

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