Frequently Asked Questions About Probate

When is it Proper to Use a Small Estate Affidavit?

A small estate affidavit is a legal document that can be used to transfer property to heirs without a formal probate. Not all estates qualify for small estate administration. Heirs can use a small estate affidavit in only limited circumstances. What Estates Qualify for Small Estate Administration? In Texas, heirs can take advantage of a … Read More

What are Valid Reasons to Contest Will in Texas?

His dad had been sick and weak. He didn’t even have the strength to write his own name. Nevertheless, after his father died, his stepmother produced a deathbed Will for probate which left all her husband’s property to her. But something seemed fishy to him. Because his father was weak, his stepmother had handwritten the … Read More

Is Property My Spouse and I Owned in Another State Community Property or Separate Property?

John and Jane Doe didn’t always live in Texas. Earlier in their marriage, they lived in another state, where John purchased a house the couple lived in and raised their children. Although they have since moved to Texas, they still own the house and spend summers there. How is the out-of-state property characterized as community … Read More

Can an Independent Executor Alter How my Property is Distributed?

A man who was named independent executor in a Will called me. Someone told him that because he was named as the independent executor, he had the right to distribute Testator estate any way he wished. He was calling to ask if that was true. It is not! The role of an executor is to … Read More

Who Can File An Application for Probate?

If an executor is named in a Will, then that person is generally the most logical person to file an application to probate the Will. The Texas Estates Code also provides that the applicant may be in “interested person.” An interested person is defined as: an heir, devisee, spouse, creditor, or any other person having a … Read More

Will Former Spouse Inherit Bank Account if Named as P.O.D. Beneficiary?

I received a note recently from someone whose brother had recently passed away. Her brother was divorced and had no children. He was survived by four siblings. Both his parents were deceased. His savings account designated his ex-wife as the P.O.D. beneficiary. The author wondered whether the ex-wife would inherit the money in the account. … Read More