Probate

NDHA can help you with the many issues that arise in connection with probate and estate administration.

Avoiding Probate

If you do not want to disclose the nature and extent of your assets, you should consider, when your will is being prepared, using another asset disposition method (such as a revocable trust) to preserve your privacy as much as possible.  Probate requires substantial disclosure of your assets. 

Overview of Probate

Reduced to its basics, probate is simply the means by which your property, after your death, is transferred according to your will to those persons (including charities) specified in your will.  Of course, this assumes you had a will and that such will was recognized by the court as being your valid will.  A court hearing is required to establish the validity of the will.

Once your will has been “probated” (or accepted by the court as being your valid will), then it will be necessary to focus on the administration of your probate estate.  Texas law provides for independent administration of your probate estate, which means that judicial supervision of the administration of estate is not required.  

Your executor will control the administration of your probate estate, and for this reason, you need to carefully consider who you appoint as executor of your probate estate in your will.  Your probate estate consists only of those assets the disposition of which is controlled by your will and does not include assets the disposition of which is controlled by contract and beneficiary designations (such as life insurance policies, individual retirement accounts, pension plans and annuities).  

During the administration of your probate estate, your creditors can collect amounts owed to them at the time of your death.  Once these claims have been satisfied, distributions may be made to the persons designated in your will to receive your property.

Even though the concept of probate and probate administration is simple, the actual process of administering an estate is not.  If you are serving as executor, you will be required to comply with various notice requirements and deadlines.  

NDHA can help you have a will admitted to probate and can help you during the administration of a probate estate.

Dependent Administration

If you die without a valid will, dependent (or court supervised) administration of your estate is required, court approval is generally required to take any action.  It is also necessary to prove the heirs of the estate.  

To avoid the burden of dependent administration, the importance of having a valid will (thereby qualifying you for independent administration) cannot be overstated.