FAQs Probate & Estate Planning
Estate Planning is you directing what will become to your assets after you die. The most typical document used for Estate Planning is a Will, but you may also consider creating a Trust or executing property deeds that become effective only after you pass away.
If you own land or other assets at the time of your death and have not left a Will, created a Trust or executed property deeds effective upon your death, your family will have to incur great expenses administering your estate. Also, the laws of intestacy will apply, meaning your estate assets will be distributed to your heirs in shares set fourth be the Texas legislature in the Estate Code, not how you might have wished them to be.
In Texas, the probate process for a properly prepared and executed Will is not expensive compared to other states. Texas law allows a person to designate an Independent Executor of the estate and in most cases only one court hearing is required.
However, when a person dies without a Will or other Estate Planning documents, probate can become very expensive in that the court has to take a more active role in the administration of the estate.
In such a situation Texas law allows a Will to be probated as a “muniment of title”. This is an efficient method to transfer title to the house while dispensing with the requirements of a full estate administration. The Will is still filed in probate court, but upon hearing the probate court will enter a final order admitting the Will as a muniment of title that can be recorded in the county real estate records. After that the case is concluded and the executor of the estate is not required to do anything further.