I represent the families who have lost someone.
Probate is a system to transfer titles/ownership to real property and personal property that means to real estate and personal items like furniture, art and some investment type items like stock accounts or oil and gas deeds.
That it is really expensive. Yes, it costs to probate but it is not as expensive as in many other states. Texas has a good probate system and it is designed to help people probate estates in the least expensive ways. That is why I am such an advocate for everyone to have a will. It is less expensive to probate a will than it is to probate an estate where there is no will.
Probate is always necessary in Texas when there is real estate. In other words, when there is real property, the probate process legally changes the ownership of the property pursuant to the terms of the will. The probate says, “This is the property of the deceased”, and the Order states the name and other information about the heirs of the estate.
There is a section in the probate code that is called the Residual Clause. So, just about every will in Texas says if there is any property that I have not disposed of in this will, I wanted to pass to my residual beneficiary. The deceased person may not even know who the residual beneficiary is but there will be one. There always is a residual beneficiary because Texas does not want any little pieces of property floating around that do not have somebody to inherit them.
No. Anything that has a stated beneficiary does not go through probate. For example, insurance policies, 401(K)s or stock accounts because those entities have stated beneficiaries determined at the time they are purchased.
Of course, the testator or the testatrix is a main player because he or she is the reason for all of this. Then there is the administrator or the executor that is appointed by the court to handle the probate. Of course, there is an attorney who represents the estate. In Texas, most judges require an attorney; you can do your own divorce but you cannot do your own relative’s probate. The heirs are the other necessary parties. There could be one or none or 15.
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