Many life events can sometimes come marked with a legal process. When Texas residents experience the death of a loved one, that person's estate may need to go through the legal process known as probate. Though this procedure is relatively common, many people may not understand why it is necessary or what occurs during the proceedings.
With probate, a deceased person's will is validated by the court, if a will exists. After validation occurs, many steps must be taken to properly close the estate. One of the biggest concerns during this time is property distribution. Assets that did not have a direct beneficiary or pay-on-death designation will likely need to go through probate. These items are known as probate assets and are often distributed by the terms of the will.
If a person did not create a will before his or her death, probate will likely still be necessary. Instead of distributing property in accordance with the decedent's wishes, however, state law will take precedence. As a result, property will likely pass to the closest living relative as specified under state intestacy laws.
Texas residents who are hoping to respectfully and correctly attend to their loved ones' estates may feel a sense of uncertainty when approaching probate. Luckily, this process does not have to seem as intimidating as it may at first. Interested individuals have the opportunity to speak with experienced attorneys who could provide useful information and guidance throughout the legal proceedings if parties which to obtain such help during this time.
Source: communityadvocate.com, "What IS probate, anyway?", Lauren E. Miller, Dec. 19, 2017