What Is Probate?

Have you had the honor of being named the Executor of a will? The assistance of a qualified estate planning attorney will allow you to carry out your duties in a simplified and streamlined manner.


Probate is the legal process necessary to recognize a person’s death and administer their estate, and there are 8 general steps included in the probate process.


  1. Filing an application for probate in the county where the decedent lived.
  2. Posting notice of probate at the courthouse.
  3. Validating the will before a judge.
  4. Completing an inventory of all assets.
  5. Identifying beneficiaries.
  6. Notifying creditors.
  7. Resolving disputes.
  8. Distributing the assets.


The probate process is either expedited or hindered by the type of will administration outlined in the decedent’s last will and testament. There are 3 basic types of will administration in the state of Texas.

If a will does not contain specific language outlining the type of estate administration the author desired along with the number of required witnesses and more, Texas law requires strict oversight be provided by the probate court. The court must approve each step of the estate administration process.

Once a will has been confirmed as qualifying for dependent administration and the Executor of a will has been court confirmed, h/she can act on behalf of the estate without seeking court approval for each decision.

If there is no will and the decedent’s property (excluding the homestead and exempt property) does not exceed $75,000 then the beneficiaries can prepare a small estate affidavit to collect the property and avoid the probate process. Many in this situation find it beneficial to work with a qualified attorney to craft the small estate affidavit to avoid affidavit denial.

If the decedent’s estate is debt free and contains a very small bank account and/or a single house, you and your estate planning attorney can file a Muniment of Title. When conducting the probate process as a Muniment of Title, the court reviews the last will and testament, transfers the few assets (home and small bank account) to the beneficiary and validates that there is no need for a formal administration process.

As you can see, the probate process contains many variables. Justin and Jacob are available to consult with you!