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Probate Administration

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Todd A. Wilson

Estate Attorney

Law Office of Todd A. Wilson is a full-service probate and estate planning law firm in Austin, TX. Also known as TAW Law TX, our firm is locally owned and operated, and our Austin probate attorneys are proud to be members of the Austin Bar Association, the Texas Bar Association, and the American Bar Association.


We are also proud to be home to some top Austin probate attorneys who offer:


Flat-fee services for uncontested probates
Free consultations


 Call 512-827-9212 or Contact Us Online for a FREE Consultation


You can also learn more about probate in Texas, how the process works, and what you can generally expect as you proceed through it by exploring the FAQs below.

Probate Administration FAQs

What is probate?

Probate is the legal process of administering one’s estate after death. It includes proving a will in court, determining heirs, creating an inventory of the assets of the deceased, paying debts, and distributing the appropriate amount of assets to the correct heirs.

What is uncontested probate?

Uncontested probate refers to probate proceedings in which none of the beneficiaries raise challenges regarding the validity of the will. While uncontested probates can still be complex, they tend to be more straightforward than contested probate cases. At TAW Law TX, our Austin probate attorneys offer flat-fee services for uncontested probate cases.

How does probate work?

After someone passes away, the executor (or administrator) files paperwork to:


  • Open up a probate case: Probate will need to be filed in the county in which the decedent lived. For example, if the decent lived in Hays County, TX, probate would need to occur in Hays County.
  • Determine the validity of the will: This process can involve will contests, investigations, additional hearings, and more. In fact, some notoriously complex and contentious probate cases have even sparked decades-long litigation and incredibly wild, yet true, stories about wills.
  • Verify which heirs inherit the decedent’s assets: Although this can take time, Texas law permits beneficiaries to seek partial distributions from estates in some cases.


To do this, Texas probate generally involves the following process:


  1. The documents are filed with the probate court to initiate the case. If a will exists, it’s filed with the court at this time.
  2. The probate court officially appoints an executor or administrator to oversee the proceedings. One year after the court issues letter testamentary, making this official appointment, interested parties may be able to seek partial distributions from an estate.
  3. Interested parties, including creditors and heirs, will be notified of the probate proceedings.
  4. The property and assets of the estate will be inventoried and appraised.
  5. The estate will pay any outstanding debts, reviewing creditor claims for validity before making any payouts. Property may need to be sold to pay off debts.
  6. Pay any and all taxes necessary. Estate taxes can vary widely, depending on whether the decedent took any effective measures to mitigate estate taxes.
  7. Distribute the estate’s assets to the beneficiaries, per the terms of the will or the Texas state law if a valid will was not left by the decedent.


With a valid will and all parties on the same page, probate in Texas can still be a complicated, multi-phase endeavor that’s sensitive to mistakes — and that can be derailed with missed deadlines, document oversights, and other missteps.


That’s why it’s generally in the best interests of executors, administrators, beneficiaries, and others to retain the counsel of a probate attorney, preferably one with experience in the same county where the case will be resolved.

How long does probate take in Texas?

No two probate cases are exactly alike, so there is no standard period of time for wrapping up these legal matters. In fact, some of the factors that can impact how long it takes for a Texas probate case to be resolved include:


  • Whether one or more versions of a will have been left behind
  • The nature and complexity of the estate’s assets
  • The types and number of creditor claims filed with the estate
  • Whether any interested parties raise a contest to the will, challenging its validity


Generally, however, more straightforward probate cases tend to proceed faster than more complicated ones. Still, even the simplest probate cases in Texas typically take at least six months to resolve.


To get a more precise answer to this question, contact an experienced probate attorney in Austin for a free, confidential consultation.

What's the difference between an independent and a dependent administration?

Independent probate administration is a simplified version of probate that allows the executor to act largely outside the supervision of the court. This helps to speed up and simplify the process. Dependent administration requires court oversight and approval throughout the probate process.

Who is responsible for probate?

If an executor is named in a will, that person handles the process. Often, this is a spouse, child or a close personal friend. If no will exists, the court will determine an administrator to oversee everything.

Do I really need a probate attorney?

Yes — if you are concerned or serious about protecting your rights and interests as you move through the probate process, it’s typically prudent to retain an experienced probate lawyer, like an Austin probate attorney at TAW Law TX.


That’s because:


  1. Probate can be complicated: Regardless of whether you’re going through contested or uncontested probate, the process can be complex and involve various requirements, deadlines, hearings, and more. Navigating the process can be tricky, if not cumbersome and taxing, without the guidance and support of a knowledgeable lawyer.
  2. A probate lawyer can provide essential counsel: From explaining the process to providing advice, managing deadlines, representing you in court, and beyond, an attorney can be there at every step to represent you and advocate on your behalf during the process. That can be crucial to achieving more efficient and more favorable resolutions, regardless of whether you’re an heir, a personal representative, or another interested party.

When it comes to probate representation for contested and uncontested cases, here’s the bottom line — it can be easier to make mistakes, miss deadlines, and overlook certain rights or obligations associated with probate if you don’t have a knowledgeable attorney in your corner.


At TAW Law TX, our probate lawyers in Austin offer exceptional counsel for all types of cases, and we provide flat-fee service for uncontested probate cases.

Compassionate Help & Experienced Counsel for Texas Probate Cases

Some of the occasions where we can be of help include:

  • Your uncle passed away all of a sudden not leaving behind any estate plan or will;
  • Your father passed away, 4 years before, and the will is still left unexecuted;
  • Your great aunt passed away without leaving any estate executor;
  • A husband passed away leaving behind children from a previous marriage.

When Our Probate Lawyers Can Help

  • You are named as executor in the will;
  • Spouse passed away (with or without a will) and surviving spouse incorrectly believes that the house is automatically hers or his;
  • Parents passed away (with or without a will) and house and other assets need to be distributed;
  • Parents passed away over 4 years ago and title to the house was never changed;
  • Parents passed away and children do not get along;
  • Common law spouse passed away;
  • Family member passed away, leaving a will, but none of the named executors are alive or want to serve.

Types of Probate in Texas

  • Independent Administration: It is the most effective type of probate. The administrator acts without a court supervisor. It is easiest with a will. However, it can still be accomplished with no will if all beneficiaries consent.
  • Dependent Administration: It is more expensive and time-consuming. The administrator acts with court supervision.
  • Muniment of Title: Unique to Texas, the Muniment of Title probate allows transfer of house title when there is a will and no other major assets. Although it is expedient and cheaper, it is not usually appropriate for anything other than the house.
  • Determination of Heirship: Streamlines the process when there is no will and not many major assets.
  • Small Estate Affidavit: Appropriate where there are less than $50,000 in assets (excluding the house) and no will.
  • Affidavits of Heirship: A cost-effective means of avoiding court where there is no will.

Talk to an Austin probate lawyer to get answers, advice, and important counsel about your situation, your legal options, and how to proceed. The Law Office of Todd A. Wilson, also TAW Law TX, offers free consultations and flat-fee services for uncontested probates.


 Call 512-827-9212 or Contact Us Online for a FREE Consultation


Free consultations     ·      Flat-fee services for uncontested probates