Commonly Asked Probate Questions

Probate can be a confusing process for most people. If you are tasked with being the executor of an estate or a trustee of a trust, you probably have questions. Read our FAQ below and then contact the Law Office of Jon R. Disrud if you have more questions. Your consultation is free.

What is probate?

Probate is the process of administering a person’s estate according to the directions in their will. If there is no will, the estate will be probated according to Texas law.

Does having a will avoid probate?

In general, no. A will is a probate document. One way to avoid probate is to place assets in certain trusts that pass those assets directly to beneficiaries. An attorney can help you choose the right one for you.

What is the difference between an executor and a trustee?

Executors administer the estate according to the will or Texas law (if there is no will). Executors owe a fiduciary duty to the estate and its beneficiaries. A trustee administers a trust and must uphold the terms of the trust. They owe a fiduciary duty to the beneficiaries of the trust.

What are the benefits of probate?

The probate process ensures that the decedent’s wishes are carried out according to the terms of the will and provides oversight by the probate court. It also offers a forum for parties in disagreement over the will or a trust to settle their dispute. In addition, it ensures the decedent’s and estate’s taxes and debts will be paid, which then leaves the remainder of the estate to the heirs and beneficiaries.

How long is the probate process?

In Texas, the average is about six to eight months. However, this depends on the complexity of the assets. A small estate with a simple will can take as little as a month. The process can take longer if the decedent died intestate, if the assets are sophisticated or if someone contests the will. Very complex or highly contested estates can take years to resolve.

What are the steps in probate?

The steps in Texas probate include:

  • Filing the probate application with the Texas probate court
  • Validating that the will is genuine and reflects the wishes of the testator
  • Appointing the estate executor or administrator
  • Notifying creditors
  • Conducting an inventory and appraisal of estate assets, as appropriate
  • Managing the estate’s assets
  • Paying the debts and taxes of the estate and decedent
  • Distributing the estate assets to the beneficiaries as detailed in the will
  • Closing the estate

Have Additional Questions?

Please contact attorney Jon R. Disrud at 210-569-0581 or send him an email. Your consultation is free.